ST. LOUIS – People in the construction industry fear projects across the St. Louis area could come to a halt if more workers don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
A local organization has created a website that encourages folks to change their minds.
“Construction workers are at the bottom of the pile in terms of willingness to get vaccinated,” said Tom Finan, the executive director of Construction Forum.
It’s easy to find another building going up in the St. Louis area. Right now, companies, unions, and workers have joined forces to inform construction crews how important the COVID shot is to keep workers working.
“The fear is basically that we will not only decimate our work force but will bring that home to the families of the people employed by us,” Finan said.
The web site Finan created provides answers to questions and fears workers have. There are also messages from people in the industry urging vaccination.
“We got to make sure everyone is protected,” said Anthony Thompson, owner of Kwame Building Group.
Thompson said he convinced his workforce to get the vaccine, not only to protect themselves but their loved ones, friends, and coworkers. Thompson knows the spread of the virus could shut down a work site.
“If these projects get shut down, just think about the huge economic impact that will have to the city and the people if they’re not working,” Thompson said.
Dr. Ann Marie Dale, a Washington University epidemiologist who works with the CDC concerning workers and COVID, said about 48% of all construction workers are against the shot. She was optimistic the website will convince about half of them to roll up their sleeves, which could lead to heard immunity.
“That’s going to dramatically improve the rate of vaccination in the population and thereby decrease the risk of transmission,” Dale said.
Researchers indicate construction workers are unwilling to get the shot because it’s their culture to work through sickness and pain. And if they get COVID, they figure they’ll work through it. However, they could end up seriously ill or worse.