COVID-19 Vaccine Program: Guidance for Ohio employers for vaccinating your employees

Date: April 12, 2021

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), by providing information about COVID-19 vaccination and establishing supportive policies and practices, employers and organization leaders can help increase vaccine uptake among workers or members. Sharing clear, complete, and accurate messages promotes confidence in the decision to get vaccinated. Engaging employees in plans helps reduce potential barriers to vaccination.

Strong confidence in the vaccines within Ohio’s workplaces and organizations, including nonprofits, will lead to more people getting vaccinated, which will result in fewer COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. This ultimately will help Ohio’s economy by reducing absences due to illness. The State of Ohio does not mandate vaccination.

A coordinated effort to vaccinate your employees and members benefits everyone.

Potential benefits for employers/organizations:

  • Keep the workforce healthy.
  • Reduce absences due to illness.
  • Improve productivity.
  • Improve morale. 

Potential benefits for employees/members:

  • Prevent COVID-19 illness.
  • Reduce absences and doctor visits due to illness.
  • Convenience
  • Improve morale.

Vaccination options for your employees/members

On-site at your workplace/organization:

  • Occupational health clinics at businesses/organizations that are enrolled as Ohio vaccine providers.
  • Employer/organization-run temporary vaccination clinics for employees or members (e.g., a grocery chain with a pharmacy operation that can vaccinate grocery employees).
  • Mobile/temporary vaccination clinics brought to the workplace/organization by partners that are enrolled vaccine providers (e.g., hospital, pharmacy, federally qualified health center, or local health department partner).

Off-site in the community:

  • Mobile/temporary vaccination clinics set up at community locations including hospital, pharmacy, or local health department partners (closed or open to the public).
  • Pharmacies enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
  • Hospitals and healthcare provider offices.
  • Federally qualified health centers.


Partnering with an enrolled vaccine provider in your community

As vaccine supplies increase, making vaccine easily available and convenient to employers and organizations and their employees or members is a priority. Organizations interested in coordinating vaccinations for their employees or members should contact enrolled vaccine providers in their community to discuss partnership options and begin planning.

Currently, Ohio has more than 1,300 enrolled provider locations distributing vaccine throughout the state. Many of Ohio’s hospitals, independent and chain pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, and local health departments receive weekly allocations of COVID-19 vaccine. The ODH Vaccine Provider Locations directory shows providers throughout Ohio who have received shipments of COVID-19 vaccines. Search by name, county or ZIP code to see a list of providers near you.

Beginning April 12, 2021, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will allow enrolled providers to vaccinate their own employees and to use vaccine to support employer or organization vaccine programs. This includes, for example, partnering with businesses or organizations to conduct on-site vaccination clinics, making it easy and convenient for employees or members to be vaccinated.

As supplies may be limited, vaccine priority should be given to those employees who are at greatest risk for COVID-19 due to their job duties, e.g., employees who must regularly interact in person with customers and members of the public. Vaccine providers that have been providing vaccine to the public are encouraged to expand their reach to include businesses and organizations, while still making vaccine publicly available and prioritizing equity considerations in the distribution of vaccine.

ODH has issued separate guidance to vaccine providers encouraging partnerships with employers/organizations in their communities. If your business or organization is interested in a vaccination event, please contact your local health department for help identifying a partner vaccine provider. In addition, a list of enrolled vaccine providers available to partner with businesses and organizations will be available soon.

Vaccination On-Site at the Workplace – Special Considerations

  • The planning process for hosting a workplace COVID-19 vaccination program should include input from management, human resources, employees, and labor representatives, if present.
  • Consider allowing employees to get vaccinated during work hours or take paid leave to get vaccinated at a community site.
  • Employers may want to engage a community vaccination provider/vendor. These providers typically deliver work-site flu vaccination services and are expanding to provide COVID-19 vaccination. They have trained nursing staff available in all jurisdictions, can bill insurance for administration fees, and can report vaccine administration data to immunization registries.
  • Vaccination providers must prepare to monitor for and manage potential anaphylaxis after vaccination.
  • Workplace vaccination clinics must offer vaccination at no charge and during work hours.
  • Provide easy access to vaccination for all people working at the workplace, regardless of their status as a contractor or temporary employee.
  • The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine are authorized for ages 18 and older. All Ohioans age 16 and older are eligible to receive the vaccine. Children ages 16 and 17 who are not emancipated must have parental or legal guardian consent for any vaccine. A parent or legal guardian generally should accompany the minor to receive the vaccine, unless the administration of the vaccine occurs in a physician’s office, school-based or school-associated clinic setting or similar setting.
  • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two-dose products. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is due 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine is due 28 days after the first dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose product.

See the National Institute of Health’s Key Elements of a Model Workplace Safety and Health COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

For additional information, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov. If you have any questions or issues, please call the ODH COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Call Center between 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, at 1-844-9ODHVAX (1-844-963-4829) or email. You also may visit the ODH COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Information Training page for additional information and resources.

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