Physician viewpoint: Give low-wage healthcare workers paid time off to recover from vaccine side effects

As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the U.S., there should be a national policy to ensure low-wage, hourly healthcare workers who are inoculated receive two days of paid leave if side effects prevent them from coming to work after their injection, two Yale University physicians wrote in an April 7 opinion piece for USA Today.

Brita Roy, MD, is director of population health and an assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at New Haven, Conn.-based Yale. Howard Forman, MD, is a professor of public health, management and economics at Yale. They said many low-wage, hourly healthcare workers have already had to take time off to recover from COVID-19 or care for family members, have had reduced paid hours due to the pandemic and are unable to afford additional time off. 

"Is it realistic to ask them to do something where they have a high likelihood of needing to take additional unpaid time off work when already in a precarious financial position?" the physicians asked. 

A coherent national policy that ensures these workers receive two days of paid vaccine adverse event leave should be funded by the federal government for all hourly wage essential employees below 300 percent of the federal poverty level, including healthcare workers, the physicians said. It would only be for employees who are fully vaccinated. 

"Funding two additional days of 'vaccine leave' for the year for those who cannot afford it seems like a low price to pay to support the health and well-being of our nation," the physicians said.

To view the full opinion piece, click here.  

 

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