On August 4 Kate Brown announced an administrative rule that will require all healthcare workers to either get a COVID-19 vaccine or take regular COVID-19 tests. Here’s what you need to know.
Who does this rule apply to?
This will impact nursing home workers, assisted living facilities, adult foster homes, and non-profits providing healthcare, counseling or drug treatment services.
It will not impact most homecare or personal support workers, child care workers, or private non-profits that do not provide “healthcare” services.
This policy will not impact state workers (not even workers at the Oregon State Hospital), but we do expect a similar policy covering state workers will be handed down in the days to come.
What does the rule say?
The rule will require all healthcare workers to either be fully vaccinated by September 30 or to get regular COVID-19 tests. Employers are responsible for setting up the testing process. Because the policy allows for testing, it’s not a vaccine mandate.
What is our union doing about this?
Union representatives are reaching out to your employer with a demand to bargain over the impact of this policy. One problem with the policy is that it does not require or incentivize employers to provide paid time off for workers to get and recover from the vaccine. We will fight to make sure that you have that PTO, in addition to ensuring that the COVID testing system your employer creates does not place any undue burden on workers who choose to not get the vaccine.
Where can you get questions about this policy answered?
Your employer likely won’t have a lot of information right away, because it’s going to take some time to work out the details of this new policy. But you can call your union at 1-844-503-SEIU (7348) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions.
Is the vaccine safe and effective?
Yes. In Oregon, more than 2 million people have been safely vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Vaccines are free and effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant. The vaccine will also reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill, being hospitalized or dying if you do get COVID-19. Bottom line, the vaccine is our best weapon in the fight to reopen Oregon.
A lot of people are nervous about side effects and that’s totally normal. Mild to moderate reactions to vaccines are common and are a sign your immune system is responding as it should. Common side effects after vaccination include pain or swelling where you got the shot, fever, chills, fatigue, or headaches. In most cases, the side effects should go away within a few days.
For more information on the vaccine, click here.
Where can I get a COVID vaccine shot?
Vaccines are readily available throughout Oregon, free of charge, at many pharmacies or vaccination sites set up by public health officials. Go to GetVaccinated.Oregon.Gov to find a location near you.