What to expect if more SC companies require the COVID-19 vaccine following full FDA approval

State - Regional

FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — Following the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine receiving full FDA approval, some South Carolina business owners may be mulling over the idea of requiring their employees to get vaccinated.

Right now, 47% of eligible South Carolinians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Private businesses in the state are free to mandate the vaccine, with medical or religious exceptions.

Some health care systems in the state have required their employees to get vaccinated. One business in Lexington County made that same decision.

Earlier this month, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Owner and CEO Lou Kennedy announced her company would be requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for their 2,000 employees. Kennedy said there are exceptions for religious or medical reasons.

She said they made the decision after hearing about the situation in South Carolina hospitals. Kennedy said, “We’re making the drugs the front-line workers need and we have to keep our family safe to help patients get what they need.”

Nephron’s announcement was made before the Pfizer vaccine got full FDA approval. Some labor attorneys in the state are expecting more companies to follow suit.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce hosted a discussion with business owners and attorneys this week. They talked about what things a business and employees could expect if they require the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the labor attorneys, a vaccination mandate has pros and cons. It could make employees and others feel safer at work but it could also lead to some employees leaving their job or protests.

David Dubberly with Nexsen Pruet told business owners, “You’re going to get pushback. Some of the pushback is going to be legitimate, honest questions. Some of the pushback is going to be easily disproven and even comically absurd in some situations.”

Kennedy said, so far at Nephron, the reception has been good. She said one or two employees have decided to leave.

She said, “Some of the folks thought it would be a rocky announcement and might cause protests or disruption to business. I can tell you it’s been smooth and easy to get done.” Kennedy is hopeful they’ll reach 100% vaccination and help protect their workers and their families.

Employees at Nephron were required to get their first shot by Friday evening and complete their vaccination by Sept. 30th.

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