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Many Older Workers Don't Want to Reveal Vaccination Status

Yet most want to know if their colleagues have gotten their shots

doctor gives a shot to a patient

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En español | Slightly more than half of boomers believe that whether or not they get vaccinated against COVID-19 should be strictly their business. But they're less supportive of that freedom of choice than younger generations and also want to know about their colleagues’ vaccination status.

That's according to a new Harris Poll of 2,066 U.S. adults 18 and older that was conducted for the American Staffing Association (ASA). The ASA Workforce Monitor survey also revealed that boomers are less supportive of mask requirements in the workplace than younger people and are slightly more likely to say that employees have the right to know whether their coworkers have been vaccinated.

Fifty-two percent of boomers polled agree with the statement, “Whether I get the COVID-19 vaccine or not is no one's business but my own.” That compares with 60 percent of Generation Z respondents, 67 percent of millennials and 68 percent of Generation Xers.

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But when asked if workers have a right to know whether their colleagues have been vaccinated, 70 percent of boomers said yes, compared with 66 percent of Gen Zers and millennials and with 60 percent of Gen Xers.

Fifty-one percent of boomers want employers to require workers to wear masks at on-site job locations, even if they've been vaccinated. But even larger percentages of employees from younger generations (61 percent of Gen Zers and millennials and 56 percent of Gen Xers) agree with mandatory masking.

"As work sites reopen across the country, employee concerns about COVID-19 are creating a challenging privacy paradox,” ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist said in a press release. “Employees want to know whether their fellow coworkers have been vaccinated but don't want to make their own status public.”

In an email, Cynthia Davidson, the association's senior director for research, urged businesses “to take time to actively listen to their employee and client concerns about workplace safety and to proactively and frequently communicate what measures they are implementing as more offices begin to reopen."

"Transparency is key and should help in allaying any fears,” Davidson added.

Patrick J. Kiger is a contributing writer for AARP. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times Magazine, GQ and Mother Jones, and for the websites of the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.