With the delta variant driving up COVID-19 cases across the country, more companies are mandating vaccinations for employees to ward off the economic losses that come from having an unhealthy workforce.
Delta and United airlines, Facebook, Walmart, Google, Black Rock, Microsoft, Anthem, and Tyson Foods are among dozens of firms that have announced mandates in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases climb. For the first time since February, the U.S. is averaging more than 100,000 cases a day in what Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” The CDC now recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public spaces such as a shared office.
The decision by companies to require vaccines or masks doesn’t surprise Wharton management professor Iwan Barankay. Not only are private businesses legally permitted to do so, they feel compelled to keep their employees safe.
The mandates are a step companies can take to “internalize the externality” and control the spread of the virus, said Barankay, who is also a professor of business economics and public policy. He joined the Wharton Business Daily radio show on SiriusXM to talk about the mandates. (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.)