U.S. companies may require COVID-19 vaccines for people returning to the office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced on Friday.
But employers must still provide reasonable accommodations for people exempt from mandatory immunization under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
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Employee incentives are also allowed to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated in the arms, as the percentage of vaccine doses continues to decline nationwide.
Employers are prohibited from issuing “coercive” inducements, but guidelines on what could be interpreted as illegal have not been included.
“A very big incentive could cause employees to feel pressured to disclose protected medical information,” the EEOC said, although the agency did not develop what would be considered a disproportionate incentive.
Just over 50% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus, with more than 167 million Americans partially vaccinated.
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Despite wide access, only 40 percent of Americans are fully immunized and more than 134 million have received full immunizations.
President Biden has pledged to have enough vaccines for every American by the end of July, but a drastic drop in shots administered could jeopardize that goal.
The United States experienced a vaccination spike in early April with more than 4.3 million doses administered on April 1, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But as of May 28, less than 130,000 doses had been administered.
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The coronavirus has infected more than 33 million people in the country and 170 million worldwide.
Nearly 591,000 have died in the United States, as well as 3.5 million worldwide from the virus.