Large employers are eyeing on-site COVID-19 vaccines, survey shows

Many large employers are expecting to offer COVID-19 vaccines on-site for workers by the end of the year, a new survey shows.

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions surveyed 151 employers and other purchasers and found that 80% of very large firms, or those with more than 10,000 employees, anticipate offering vaccines to employees on-site.

While larger companies are considering on-site vaccine clinics, just 8% of those surveyed said they anticipate making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for workers, echoing similar findings from Willis Towers Watson released earlier this month.

One in 10 of those surveyed said they had implemented or were considering a mandate for higher exposure employees.

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More than half of the surveyed employers said they are expecting business operations to stabilize over the course of this year as vaccine access grows. A quarter (25%) said they were anticipating greater stability by the second quarter, and 27% said by the third quarter.

“Employers are working to get back to normal operations which most expect by the third quarter of 2021,” said Michael Thompson, National Alliance president and CEO, in a statement. “While the vaccination efforts are currently job one, plans are shaping up now for employers to improve health, equity and healthcare value over the next few years.”

While on-site vaccine events aren't taking off among employers of all sizes, 81% of those surveyed said they were providing workers with information on the value of vaccines and 76% are offering employees education on eligibility.

Even as employers are largely focused on vaccines at present, the survey found that interest in health reform continues to grow. The majority (87%) of employers surveyed said they support regulation targeting drug pricing, and 79% said the back regulation on surprise billing.

In addition, three-quarters support regulation on hospital price transparency and regulation on hospital rates, according to the survey.

Reviews were more mixed for a Medicare public option, according to the survey, with 44% of employers saying it could be either a somewhat or very helpful option. Fifteen percent said they believe it would be a somewhat or very harmful option.