By Ruben Juarez, Alika Maunakea, May Okihiro, and Carl Bonham
Despite the national attention around COVID-19 vaccination mandates for businesses, including President Biden’s recent announcement, the actual impacts on vaccination uptake have yet to be reported. In September, two counties in Hawaii implemented mandates for employees in select businesses to be either vaccinated or enroll in a regular COVID-19 testing program. Using a survey tool, we are able to estimate the increased vaccination rate of nearly 2000 businesses in Hawaii. 84.4% vaccination rate was reported among employees before mandates, and an additional 8% of employees were estimated to have been vaccinated as a result of the mandates. We also observed that 5.9% of employees elected regular COVID-19 testing, while 1.7% were either dismissed or resigned. This study shows the first quantification of the effects of the mandates on vaccine uptake. The increased vaccination rate observed is an encouraging indication of the efficacy of these mandates on businesses in Hawaii, with far-reaching implications for other parts of the country implementing similar strategies to mitigate COVID-19.