Since the COVID-19 vaccine went widespread in April, the number of construction professionals who received the syringes has increased 33%, according to a Construction Dive poll of nearly 300 readers.
The number of respondents who report at least one partial vaccination has risen from 60% compared to a survey in spring to 81% since last week. This is higher than the national rate of around 59%.
Still I amIt appears that further vaccination of construction workers will be minimal as only 2% of readers who have not yet been vaccinated plan to vaccinate. Those who do not plan to get vaccinated have several reasons for their hesitation, including religious considerations, health concerns, and concerns that the vaccinations have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
“The long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown,” wrote one.
Other unvaccinated readers said they were not worried about getting the virus and that even if they do get sick, the rate of recovery is high in healthy people.
“I’m young enough that I don’t have to worry COVID, and anyone who worries should have the vaccine and, in turn, not worry about me, “said one.
The latest poll also pointed to another type of reluctance: that of readers who fear working with unvaccinated employees. Around 60% of those surveyed said they were worried about their health because they were not vaccinated. Fifty-five percent said they are concerned that unvaccinated workers could affect the success of their business.
Sixty-nine percent said they believe construction workers are at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, and so vaccines make sense for the industry.
“The construction industry has many health and safety requirements that workers and businesses must adhere to,” one wrote. “In view of the conditions at the typical project location (non-stop workforce, cramped conditions, etc.), an obligation to vaccinate the workforce (except for medical and religious reasons) is not unreasonable.”
However, since much of the construction work takes place outdoors, many readers think that workers are not as vulnerable as they work.
“I don’t think construction workers are at high risk for contracting COVID on project pages. If they contract the virus, more likely it is through community or family spread, ”said one.
Some readers reported their own close contacts with the virus, including a vaccinated reader who contracted COVID-19 last month.
“My doctor said the vaccine kept me away from the hospital. My wife didn’t get it from me,” he wrote.
Others said they had repeatedly closed construction sites due to exposure to COVID-19, which left many projects behind schedule.
On the other hand, another respondent said his company was able to hold up construction sites Open throughout the pandemic, only 15 out of more than 200 people in the project contract COVID-19 and all recover quickly.
Open for business
Some readers suggested that government or company vaccination regulations would help the industry avoid unnecessary breakouts and site closings. But they admitted that not everyone is on board.
“The risk of COVID far outweighs any actual or perceived risk of the vaccine. In the construction industry, we always weigh risk and return – it shouldn’t be any different, “said one.
Some respondents noted that vaccine mandates could gain in importance as more project owners and other clients ask for fully vaccinated workers.
“The low vaccination rate is slowing the country’s return to normal operations. More people need to be vaccinated so our entire industry and economy can get back to work, ”said one.
Pointing out the industry’s challenges in finding and retaining workers, one reader said the coronavirus had exacerbated the problem.
“The construction industry cannot afford to lose any more time, productivity AND much-needed talent to COVID illness and death,” the respondent said.
Still others said the idea of giving workers a shot was unacceptable.
“Forcing people to do something they clearly don’t want to do is wrong and it shouldn’t be taboo to say so,” said one.
One respondent said that instead of prescribing vaccines, his company plans to provide a financial incentive for vaccination evidence and consider additional masking and testing for unvaccinated people.
“Out of respect for individual freedom and legitimate concerns about serious side effects in some people, we are reluctant to make vaccines mandatory. Individuals have the information and are making informed risk assessments related to their own health, ”the reader said.