Number of workers saying employer is requiring vaccines doubled in last month

Nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers said their employer is requiring staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as of last month, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday.

The percentage of workers whose employers mandated vaccinations more than doubled from 9 percent to 19 percent between July and August, the pollster found.

The poll found that 55 percent of employees say their companies are encouraging but not requiring vaccinations, down from 62 percent in July. The percentage of employees who say their employer is not taking a stance dropped from 29 percent to 26 percent.

Some of the nation’s largest employers, including Microsoft, CVS Health and United Airlines, announced vaccine mandates last month amid skyrocketing COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant. More companies enacted vaccine requirements after the Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.  

Other companies are considering harsher penalties for unvaccinated workers as an alternative to a vaccine mandate. Last month, Delta Air Lines announced that it would enact a $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated workers enrolled in the company’s health care plan.

The U.S. surpassed 650,000 COVID-19 deaths and 40 million cases this week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. August was one of the worst months for the U.S., with more than 4 million new cases. 

The Gallup poll found that 52 percent of workers support employer vaccine requirements, while 38 percent are opposed, figures that remained unchanged from July. However, the percentage of those who strongly favor vaccine requirements increased from 36 percent to 41 percent. 

Support for workplace vaccine mandates has steadily climbed as the pandemic worsened. Only 29 percent of employees strongly favored vaccine requirements in May, according to Gallup.

Gallup surveyed 1,870 adults Aug. 16-22. The survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.