ENR readers appear to be slightly more likely than other Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but less likely to agree with President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates for large firms, federal contractors and U.S. government employees.
The results of a non-scientific online ENR poll showed readers leading ahead of national vaccination rates, with 73% of approximately 1,170 respondents reporting they have received the vaccination. Additionally, 19% of those who had not received the vaccine said they still planned to become vaccinated.
As of Oct. 19, 68.6% of American adults were fully vaccinated, with 79% receiving at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just 40% of respondents to the ENR poll said they support the mandate, which includes an executive order for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring employers with 100 or more workers to require vaccination or weekly negative test results, and an executive order for the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council to require all federal contractors to ensure their employees are vaccinated by Dec. 8.
Conversely, a Gallup survey conducted the week in September when Biden announced his plan found that 60% of Americans favored a mandate for all federal employees and 58% were in favor of the mandate for companies with 100 or more employees.
There are concerns in the construction industry about how the mandate will affect businesses. While 63% of ENR poll respondents said they would stay in their job if required to get a COVID-19 vaccine, 78% said they anticipated their company would lose workers if a mandate was implemented.
Associated General Contractors CEO Stephen Sandherr wrote in a letter to members this month that the group would watch for OSHA’s standard, and determine whether a court challenge is warranted. AGC has also repeatedly shared concerns about federal contractors not having a negative test option under Biden’s FAR Council order, with Sandherr saying the group was also evaluating a possible legal challenge.
“We fully recognize that the actions taken by the administration have created uncertainty and anxiety among our members and their employees,” Sandherr wrote. “It is also true that the strains that workforce challenges impose on your firms will only be exacerbated by the imposition of testing and vaccination mandates.”
Ben Brubeck, Associated Builders and Contractors vice president of regulatory, labor and state affairs, also said in a Sept. 24 statement that the federal contractor vaccine mandate “will result in additional compliance burdens, exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled workforce shortage and increase costs for federal contractors and taxpayers.”
While they share some concerns about mandates’ effects on employers, AGC and ABC have both promoted voluntary vaccination efforts.
“ABC continues to encourage construction industry stakeholders to get vaccinated, because ensuring healthy and safe work environments for employees is a top priority of ABC and its members,” Brubeck said.
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone age 12 and older, saying they help prevent people from becoming infected with and spreading the virus, and keep those who do get COVID-19 from more serious illness.