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U.S. energy firms to launch COVID-19 vaccination mandates for workers

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According to health surveys in the U.S., several energy companies are requiring their employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations (vaccination mandate). Particularly, this request comes as infection rates rise across the country. Moreover, the surveys note that energy workers are among the most reluctant to get vaccinations.

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Indeed, today’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision to fully approve the Pfizer-BioNTech shot incentivized calls requiring employees’ vaccinations. Particularly for those people who work closely together in oilfield and refinery operations.

Chevron, Valero Energy, Schlumberger and Hess readapting the strategy

For instance, Reuters reports that the second-largest U.S. oil producer, Chevron Corp, and refiner Valero Energy Corp will soon require jabs; particularly, for certain field workers or new workers. In fact, San Antonio-based Valero this month became the first U.S. refiner to require vaccinations as a condition of employment for new workers at Texas and Louisiana oil refineries.

Chevron’s mandate, on the other hand, will cover offshore workers in the Gulf of Mexico. Also, some onshore support staff, expatriates, and employees who travel internationally, a spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters.

Indeed, earlier this month, Chevron postponed a total return of employees in California and Texas to offices. Particularly, this decision came as a response to a resurgence in coronavirus cases related to the fast-spreading Delta variant. 

Similarly, last week, top oilfield services firm Schlumberger said some customers are requesting staff to be vaccinated or tested before arriving on job sites.

Energy oil field and construction workers – among the most reluctant to get vaccinated

In this sense, Schlumberger spokeswoman said in an email; “Indeed, we continuously review our internal policies and procedures; specifically, to ensure that we can meet our customers’ needs while prioritizing the health and safety of all our employees.”  

Additionally, oil producer Hess said it would require workers at its U.S. Gulf of Mexico operations to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1. Accordingly, in a statement, the company pointed to the “highly infectious nature” of the Delta variant. It also warned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the United States

In fact, and it is worth noting, energy and construction workers have some of the lowest vaccine uptake rates; this, according to an online survey led by Wendy King, an associate epidemiology professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Thus, some 45% of extraction and construction workers said they were hesitant to get the vaccine. In contrast, just 7.3% of workers in the computer and mathematical professions said they wouldn’t get the vaccine.

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