Workplace Vaccination Program | CDC

Vaccine Scheduling

Avoid Worker Shortages due to Vaccine Side Effects

Consider staggering employee vaccination schedules to avoid worker shortages due to vaccine side effects.

Data from COVID-19 vaccine trials indicate that most side effects are mild. Most occur within the first 3 days of vaccination (the day of vaccination and the following 2 days, with most occurring the day after vaccination), resolve within 1–2 days, and are more frequent and severe following the second dose. At this time, we do not know how common these symptoms may be among employees. Nonetheless, we expect that most employees who experience symptoms following vaccination will not need to miss work. Please see CDC guidance for further information.

However, some employees who get vaccinated may have side effects, like fever, and might need to miss work temporarily.

CDC understands concerns about potential workforce shortages resulting from vaccine side effects.

Workplaces may consider staggering schedules for employees who receive vaccination so that not all employees are vaccinated on the same day.

In addition, staggering may be more important for the second dose, after which side effects seem more frequent. To help ensure continuity of operations, facilities may consider staggering vaccination for employees in the same job category or who work in the same area of a facility. Staggering vaccination for employees may cause delays in vaccinating your staff, and the decision to stagger vaccination will need to be weighed against potential inconveniences that might reduce vaccine acceptance. Facilities should evaluate their specific situation when determining their best approach. Facilities that choose to stagger vaccine administration should also ensure all employees receive 2 doses as recommended.

When to call the doctor

In most cases, discomfort after vaccination from fever or pain at the injection site is normal and lasts only a day or 2. You should encourage the employee to stay home and contact their doctor or healthcare provider if:

  • The redness or tenderness where they got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • Their side effects are worrying them or do not seem to be going away after a few days

Learn about how to report a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Stay Home if You Develop a Fever After Vaccination

Employees who experience a fever after vaccination should, ideally, stay home from work pending further evaluation, including consideration for COVID-19 testing. CDC has released guidance, which includes suggested approaches to evaluating and managing post-vaccination symptoms, including fever.

Vaccinations for Contractors and Temporary Employees

For workers employed by contract firms or temporary help agencies, the staffing agency and the host employer are joint employers and, therefore, both are responsible for providing and maintaining a safe work environment. The extent of the responsibilities the staffing agency and the host employer have will vary, depending on the workplace conditions, and should be described in their contract (Protecting Temporary Workers pdf icon).

If you plan to offer vaccination at your workplace, consider providing vaccination to all people working at the workplace, regardless of their status as a contract or temporary employee. What is most important is to encourage everyone at the work site to be vaccinated, no matter what their work arrangement is. If you do not plan to or are unable to offer work site vaccination, consider providing information to those at the workplace about how to explore options for vaccination in the community.

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