Widespread availability of Covid-19 vaccines could be a matter of weeks away in the United States, which will be a key component of corporate travel industry recovery but also is presenting new policy, technology and ethical considerations with which corporate travel programs must grapple.
U.S. President Joe Biden this week announced that he was pushing up his deadline for states to make vaccines available to all adults regardless of age, occupation or health status to April 19, a few weeks earlier than his earlier goal, which several states have already reached. About 42 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of Tuesday, according to the White House, and while the U.S. is leading the world in terms of the raw number of vaccines administered, other countries—including Israel and United Arab Emirates—are even further ahead in terms of per capita vaccinations.
So, how should corporate travel programs handle this increasing availability? Can they require employees to be vaccinated, at least as a prerequisite for business travel?
The answer to that question “varies greatly depending on where you are” and is best left to each company’s legal department to determine, said Andrew Miller, director of Americas partnerships at International SOS. Companies also need to consider questions of equity, said Josephine Johnson, director of research for The Hastings Center, a bioethics research institute. That means making sure not only that all employees have equal access to get a vaccine but also that there are exceptions in place to handle those who are unable to get a vaccine for medical reasons, she said.