Vaccines & Testing
Demystifying Vaccine and Testing Resources: FOR BUSINESS
September 29, 2021
Are you an employer or manager looking for vaccine resources at your place of business or facility? Here are two options to make your worksite healthier and safer for your employees, their families, and your customers:
You can request free vaccine clinics, vaccine education, and additional information for employees by emailing Vaccinehelp@sonoma-county.org.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines in Sonoma County, visit SoCoEmergency.org/vaccine.
State of California
The State of California is helping employers organize mobile or pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
There is no financial cost to the employer!
If approved after completing the intake form, the California Department of Public Health will provide a list of local vaccination partners able to support the request. Depending on available resources, employers may be asked to arrange necessary logistics as requested by the vaccine provider, including space to be used as vaccination stations.
Employers interested in requesting group appointments at nearby providers, or setting up a mobile or pop-up vaccination clinic at their workplace, must complete the online intake form.
Testing Guidance for Business
Local businesses can play a pivotal role in helping to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by testing, and modeling best practices. Sonoma County Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Economic Development Board (EDB) are asking local businesses to help slow the spread and open the economy.
Businesses can encourage staff to visit the many testing opportunities available every day throughout Sonoma County. These events can be found by visiting SoCo Emergency's Testing and Tracing page. Employees can get help scheduling an appointment by calling 707-565-4667 or emailing COVIDTest@sonoma-county.org.
Employers can also set up onsite testing for employees through a private lab. Go to the State of California’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force Lab List website for more information on valid California clinical laboratories providing testing.
Rapid Action Consortium
The Rapid Action Consortium is a group of private sector organizations, non-profits, academics, and scientists, working together to reduce the cost and complexity associated with rapid testing in the US. The mission of the group is to provide all learnings and approaches developed as a public good to both the private and public sectors.
Rapid Action Consortium members benefit from:
- An of-the-shelf, templated system for workplace and community screening
- A robust playbook to inform and guide implementation
- Access to preferred test pricing
- Team training and onboarding
- Connection to fellow member organizations for support, collective learnings, and best practices
Proof of Vaccination and Testing
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.
Does the HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibit businesses or individuals from asking whether their customers or clients have received a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. The Privacy Rule does not prohibit any person (e.g., an individual or an entity such as a business), including HIPAA covered entities and business associates, from asking whether an individual has received a particular vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Learn more: "HIPPA, COVID-19 Vaccination, and the Workplace"
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.
- COVID-19 Employment FAQ's - CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing
- Revisions to the COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards – Cal/OSHA
- COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards FAQ's – Cal/OSHA
- What you Should Know About COVID-19 – U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- COVID-19 Vaccine Information Flyer | English | Spanish - CDC
- State of CA Vaccine website
- COVID-19 Workplace Exposure