Frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions for employers

Here are the most common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine we've received from policyholders.

Vaccinations are the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 in Oregon. Along with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA)’s public health recommendations of wearing masks, staying physically distant, washing our hands, and avoiding large indoor gatherings, we can help reduce the spread of the virus. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that mass vaccination is the key to achieving community immunity from COVID-19.

See the OHA COVID-19 vaccination website for more information.

Here are some common questions we've received from policyholders. We'll be adding to this list as we learn more.

Vaccine information

All people in Oregon age 6 months and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You can follow the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations on the OHA vaccination dashboard.

Vaccines approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) require rigorous safety testing before approval. Learn more.

Requiring the vaccine

Oregon employers may require workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with some exceptions. Consult Oregon's Bureau of Labor & Industries vaccine page for more specifics.

Healthcare workers and all teachers, educators, support staff and volunteers in K-12 schools are required to be vaccinated.

We recommend you stay up to date on rules and recommendations by Oregon OSHA.

When the administration of the vaccine occurs within the course and scope of employment (often either because it's mandated as a condition of employment, controlled by the employer and/or at the employer's expense), treatment or disability associated with adverse effects may be a compensable workers' compensation claim. When the vaccine is voluntary, not controlled by the employer and/or not provided at the employer's expense, it is less likely adverse effects are work-related.

The Oregon workers' compensation system is a "no-fault" system, so if an employee contracts COVID-19 while in the course and scope of work, a choice to not receive the vaccine will not impact whether a workers' compensation claim is compensable.

Encouraging vaccination

Visit the Oregon Health Authority providers page for more information.

Communication from senior leaders to staff about why they chose to get vaccinated. Regularly discussing the importance of getting vaccinated makes a bigger impact than discussing the topic only once or twice. When talking about getting vaccinated, provide a consistent message.

Q&A for staff to ask questions about vaccines and receive answers from knowledgeable professionals. It’s helpful to allow staff to ask questions and to have a healthcare professional provide answers.

Help workers find a place to get a vaccine. Many mid- to large-size businesses have brought healthcare professionals onsite so staff can receive a vaccine without leaving the workplace. Other organizations have HR staff who can help an employee make a vaccine appointment.

Providing staff with paid time off to go to a vaccine appointment. For some people, taking unpaid time away from work for an appointment is a burden. It can also be difficult to schedule an appointment around work time. Some organizations have paid for a Lyft or Uber ride to get staff to a vaccine appointment and back.

Providing staff with paid sick time if they have a reaction to the vaccine. Reactions to vaccines are not uncommon and are a sign the body’s immune system is working. Some people may be hesitant to get a vaccine if they don’t have paid sick leave. These staff may be willing to be vaccinated if they don’t have to fear unpaid time off due to side effects.

There’s a significant amount of misinformation being shared about the vaccines. Trusted information can be found from the Oregon Health Authority and the CDC. The CDC has also debunked common myths about the vaccine.

Questions about testing? 

For specific COVID-19 testing information, see OHA’s testing information page.