President Biden announced a sweeping federal vaccination plan last week that is making major waves in the private sector. Let’s walk through the details of this new plan and discuss the best way for employers to implement and enforce these new requirements with a vaccination tracking solution.
A summary of Biden’s vaccination plan
As part of Biden's plan, private employers with 100+ employees must ensure everyone in their workforce is either fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated employees to undergo weekly COVID-19 tests. Businesses that do not comply with the requirements may face fines up to $14,000 per violation from OSHA.
In addition to the vaccination mandate for private employers, Biden also expanded the scope of requirements for federal employees and health care workers. Vaccination is now required for all executive branch federal employees, all federal contractors, and all workers at hospitals and other healthcare facilities where Medicare and Medicaid patients are treated. There is no test-out option.
All in all, Biden estimates that his new plan will affect about two-thirds of all workers in the U.S.
The new federal requirements come just a couple weeks after several states announced similar vaccination and testing mandates for K-12 schools, many of which are slated to go into effect mid-October.
How private employers can implement and enforce vaccination mandates
With hefty fines and penalties on the line, employers are now on the hook for developing clear policies and procedures that comply with the mandates, as well as keeping records for compliance purposes.
According to the New York Times, the new OSHA rules would “require employers to keep records of which workers are vaccinated and which have recently been tested, [and] the agency could ask inspectors following up on unrelated concerns to check records for compliance with the vaccination rule.”
What's the best way for employers to implement and enforce these mandates to ensure optimal compliance – especially when they’re responsible for tracking hundreds or even thousands of employee vaccination records? Certainly not a spreadsheet. Employers need to be looking for an application that can automate the entire process for them.
Where to start? Here are seven critical questions to ask when researching applications for tracking employee vaccinations and testing.
1. How quickly must you roll out your tracking plan?
With looming compliance deadlines and the threat of fines, it’s important for organizations to find a solution that can be implemented quickly. A custom solution built from scratch by an in-house IT team or your company’s outsourced development vendor is unlikely to be ready in a span of just a few weeks. It’s more efficient to find an existing application, like the BP Logix Vaccine Tracker app, which can be deployed rapidly while remaining flexible enough to customize to a company’s unique needs.
2. Is your solution accessible and easy for employees to use?
When you’re trying to collect the vaccination statuses of hundreds or thousands of employees, the most effective solution is the one that is the easiest for everyone to use. Accessibility is key. A vaccination tracking app must be mobile-friendly so employees can use it whether they are on a smart phone, tablet, or desktop. Likewise, workflows must be logical and easy for users to navigate through.
3. How will you handle unvaccinated employees?
While vaccination rates continue to climb, there are still many people who are not vaccinated. Depending on your workplace’s policies, you will likely need to have automated workflows set up for handling exceptions, whether it’s gathering materials for medical or religious vaccine exemption requests or setting up a workflow that allows employees to share recent test results.
4. How will weekly testing for unvaccinated employees be enforced?
For many companies, employees that decline full vaccination will need to be tested for COVID-19 every single week. For compliance purposes, employers will need to cover all of their bases by making sure this data is collected every week. Manually collecting this information just isn’t feasible, but an automated system can keep everyone accountable by sending employees regular testing reminders, alerting managers to non-compliance, and triggering additional workflows in the event of a positive test results.
5. How will you sync data with existing HR systems?
Any good vaccination tracking solution should be able to easily integrate with an organization’s existing data sources, whether it’s a human resources information system, an enterprise resource planning system, or a student information system.
6. What is your plan for proving compliance?
Because OSHA is requiring employers keep records of employee vaccination and testing, one of the most important components to look for in a vaccine tracking app is a management dashboard that allows you to easily pull reports for your organization’s vaccination rates and testing history.
7. Will you be able to adapt to changing requirements?
The final thing to consider when researching solutions for tracking vaccination status is flexibility and scalability. If there is one thing we’ve all learned during this pandemic, it’s that things move fast. The application you choose must be able to evolve along with changing policies and current events. Not only does this help your organization respond quickly to new developments, but it can also help you avoid technical debt in the future.
Our solution? The Vaccine Tracker app
The Vaccine Tracker app is a flexible, mobile-friendly solution that enables employees to securely share proof of their vaccination status with their employer. For employees that are not fully vaccinated, the app can automatically handle exceptions by triggering workflows for weekly diagnostic testing, medical/religious exemption requests, and other escalation tasks.
Built using BP Logix’s powerful low-code platform called Process Director, the Vaccine Tracker app is endlessly customizable and easily scaled. In fact, while the app was originally designed for use at K-12 and higher educational institutions, the Vaccine Tracker app can be customized to suit the specific needs of any number of workplaces, including manufacturing plants, government facilities, retail establishments, private offices, and more.
Ready to automate vaccination tracking at your workplace?
Get in touch with BP Logix to learn more about our Vaccine Tracker app.