The vaccine is the strongest tool in mitigating COVID-19 in the workplace and our community. The County of Sonoma recommends implementing employee proof of vaccination protocols in the workplace as a proactive way to prevent COVID-19 exposure. Current state and federal employment law support employers requiring documentation of vaccination status. Here are some helpful resources and considerations for implementation.
Acceptable Forms of Proof and Documentation
Whichever method of proof and documentation is used for determining employees’ vaccination status, the information must be kept confidential and stored separately from the employee’s personnel files. Vaccination documentation should only include name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided, and the date of final dose administered.
Definition of Fully Vaccinated Person
According to the California Department of Public Health, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).
Forms of Proof
- COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, or WHO Yellow Card) which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided, and date of final dose administered.
- A copy or photo of the Vaccination Card or an electronic vaccination record.
- Medical Record demonstrating proof of COVID-19 vaccination from a health care provider. The County of Sonoma does not recommend accepting doctor’s notes as a Form of Proof. (Note: Be sure other medical and personal information is not accessible. Consider asking employees to censor that information from medical records.)
- State of California’s Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record
Methods of Documentation
- Employees provide proof of vaccination and employer maintains a copy.
- Employees provide proof of vaccination. The employer maintains a record of the employees who presented proof, but not the vaccine record itself.
- Employees self-attest to vaccination status and employer maintains a record of who self-attests.
What if an employee lost their Vaccination Record Card?
Employees that lost their Vaccination Record Card can obtain a digital copy of their vaccination record through the State of California’s Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record Portal. Employee will need the following information to obtain their digital copy:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Cell phone or email address associated with vaccine record
For employees that received their vaccination through a federal agency, they will need to contact the agency directly to obtain their Vaccination Record Card.
What if an employee is not fully vaccinated or declines to show proof of vaccination?
The County of Sonoma recommends that employees who are not fully vaccinated or decline to show proof of vaccination submit to a weekly COVID-19 viral test (both PCR and antigen are acceptable). Test result information should include name of employee, type of test performed, and negative test result.
Acceptable Proof of COVID-19 Viral Test Result
- Printed document from test provider of laboratory
- Email or text message displayed on a phone from test provider or laboratory
Types of Viral Testing
There are two types of viral testing acceptable for proof of COVID-19 test:
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): Used to detect viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) and indicate a current infection or a recent infection with prolonged viral RNA detection
- Antigen: Use to detect the presence of a specific viral antigen
Employees who are unvaccinated must follow isolation and quarantine instructions if they test positive or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Following a known exposure at work, fully vaccinated workers do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic. Read more about COVID-19 Workplace Exposure.
Antibody testing CANNOT be used to determine whether an employee can come back to work after a COVID-19 infection and is NOT an acceptable method of proactively detecting COVID-19. The viral tests shown above are the most effective ways to detect COVID-19.
Additional Employer Resources