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Many of Epps & Coulson, LLP’s employer clients have implemented vaccine and/or COVID testing policies.  We have addressed these issues in prior updates (e.g.  The next question lingering in the minds of many Employers:  should we require employees to get the booster vaccination?  Answer:  probably not yet, but get ready, especially if the employment involves contact with the infirmed, sick, compromised immune or older adults (e.g. anything to do with the healthcare industry).

In the face of soaring infection numbers caused by the highly contagious Delta variant and hints that immunity may fade over time, vaccine makers, who stand to make a lot of money from boosters and beyond are moving full steam ahead.  But the question remains whether vaccinated people are at risk for COVID-19, without a booster shot and what should employers do to protect their workforce?

Infection rates in the least vaccinated states are four times higher.  For that reason, health experts agree, initial doses are more critical than boosters.  The White House Coronavirus Task Force says citizens need them, but scientists say that the case for COVID-19 vaccine boosters at this point is weak, might not be necessary for most people and could divert much needed doses away from others.  President Biden’s plan to begin distributing boosters for most American adults by Sept 20 is facing resistance. Health experts say the shot can wait and stress that what is really going to control the Delta variant (and other variants that may be coming) is vaccinating the unvaccinated, not boosters.  More than one-third of Americans who are eligible for shots are not yet fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. Key panel members that advise the government on vaccines said this week they were concerned that politics were getting ahead of the process and stress the need for more data.  During a White House briefing Tuesday, CDC director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged that while data reviewed by the agency’s advisers was currently insufficient, she was confident that there would be enough to support a recommendation prior to the start of the booster plan.

In August, the World Health Organization called for a moratorium on boosters until at least the end of September stating, “Wasting resources on boosters for those who are already protected against severe disease does not really make too much sense.”  In more than 99% of cases, vaccinated people are not getting sick, even with Delta and have minuscule chance of spreading the disease.  They state that “Delta is not the biggest problem, vaccine hesitancy is.” There just is not enough data yet to suggest that the general public; those who are vaccinated, need a COVID-19 booster shot, local public health and vaccine experts said Monday.

Much will depend on what happens when the FDA administration is meeting to discuss whether an extra dose is safe and does what it promises, to raise immunity levels.  If the FDA does authorize the booster, it likely will not be to every single person.  The CDC has signaled it is considering a booster for certain people, such as, older adults with compromised immune systems, nursing home residents and front-line workers, rather than the general population. The White House has started to plan boosters if both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give their approval.

With less than a few days until the proposed booster rollout, employers are concerned with these changes.  How is this going to affect the policies they currently have in place, or the possibility of “cost” involved.  What about vaccinated employee’s refusal of a booster?

Here at Epps & Coulson, LLP we understand that these changes may be confusing. We are available to advise. Feel free to contact Dawn:

Information contained in this Memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is considered advertising under laws of some states.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.


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