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Since the start of the pandemic, CWA activists and leaders have been pushing employers to implement protections and precautions against the spread of COVID-19 and advocating for workplace infectious disease standards at the state and federal level.
Now that several COVID-19 vaccinations are approved and vaccination programs are underway, we are making real progress toward reducing infections, illness, and death from the virus. But the danger is not over.
CWA strongly recommends that CWA members be vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine to protect themselves, their families, their co-workers, and their communities.
"New data suggests that a third of people who contract COVID-19 have lingering symptoms at least 6-9 months after recovery including headache, blood pressure issues, fatigue, brain fog, etc.," said Paul Paratore, a pharmacist at Denver Health and a member of CWA Local 7799. "Up to 80% of these patients had only mild COVID-19 cases. Getting vaccinated can protect you and those around you from COVID-19 and those potential long-term effects."
In order to be effective, widespread COVID-19 vaccination in as short a timeframe as possible is crucial, but vaccines alone are not enough. Vaccinations must be implemented in conjunction with comprehensive workplace and community protections and precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and bring an end to the pandemic.
Employees should be able to get vaccinated without fear of lost wages, PTO, or other bargained leave. CWA encourages employers to allow employees to be vaccinated on paid work time and to provide an additional vaccination-related sick time benefit for those people who may have vaccine-related side effects, like fever, and may need to miss work temporarily. We also encourage employers not to discipline or apply points to employees for absences caused by vaccine-related side effects.
We must also continue to ensure that employers are providing appropriate personal protective equipment to employees and implementing comprehensive workplace protections and mitigation strategies, such as improvements in ventilation, social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, cleaning/ disinfection, keeping sick employees away from the workplace, quarantining exposed employees, and viral testing.
Stay informed, be safe, get vaccinated, and together we can end this pandemic.
For the latest information about COVID-19 safety and vaccination, including links to your state's current vaccine eligibility rules and sign-up process, visit cwa-union.org/covid.