Consumer Brands Association Presses White House for More Clarity on Vaccine Mandates

Kimberly Redmond  |

Image source: Consumer Brands Association

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail industries are pressing the White House for more details on how to implement a sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate within the private sector.

In a letter Monday to President Joe Biden, the Consumer Brands Association included a list of more than a dozen questions from its member companies regarding requirements for vaccination, testing and other logistics.

The trade group represents dozens of companies, including The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:  KO), General Mills Inc (NYSE:  

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GIS), PepsiCo Inc (NYSE:  PEP), The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:  PG), Amazon.com Inc (Nasdaq:  AMZN), Target Corporation (NYSE:  TGT) and Albertsons Companies Inc (NYSE:  ACI).

The letter comes a few days after the White House unveiled its new COVID-19 action plan, which directed the US Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce an emergency rule requiring companies with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations or conduct weekly testing. 

The measure is expected to apply to 80 million Americans, and companies that do not follow it faces fines of $14,000 per violation. 

Consumer Brands Association chief executive officer and president Geoff Freeman wrote in the letter that the trade group stands “ready to partner with you in getting Americans vaccinated.”

“Strong, consistent collaboration between the private and public sector on implementation will accelerate progress on our shared goal,” Freeman said.

The questions spanned a range of topics, including:

  • Must an employee be fully vaccinated to work?
  • Will the requirements only apply to vaccines that are fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration?
  • What are the consequences of falsifying one’s vaccination or testing status, and does the responsibility rest with the individual or employer?
  • Will waivers be allowed if essential employees’ absences or attrition cause significant disruption to the CPG supply chain?

Freeman also cited concern among the group’s members that prior federal guidance on coronavirus-related policy came “weeks or months” after announcements, leaving companies unsure of how to proceed.

"Federal agencies must move quickly, anticipate challenges, promptly answer questions and partner with the private sector if we are to realize successful implementation of the administration’s COVID-19 Action Plan and achieve our shared goal of increased vaccination rates," Freeman said.

CNBC noted that the vaccine mandate comes at a difficult time for companies, many of whom have struggled to hire employees. 

Several companies have held off implementing internal vaccine mandates for workers in order to avoid unvaccinated workers’ quitting, the outlet reported.

As of Monday, only 178 million Americans (53.8% of the population) have been fully vaccinated, while 209 million (63.1%) have received at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The US is averaging about 145,000 new infections daily, which is similar to the heightened levels from January, before the COVID-19 vaccine was available to most of the country. 

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Source: Equities News

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