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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly half of employers say they're at least considering the idea of requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for employees return to in-person work, according to a survey from Willis Towers Watson.

Why it matters: The gradual upticks in mass vaccinations has allowed America's workforce to begin to picture reopened office buildings.

The big picture: Federal law prohibits employers and others from requiring vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine distributed under emergency authorization.

By the numbers: 34% of employers said they are planning or considering mandating vaccines as a condition of employment, according to the WTW report, which surveyed 494 businesses employing 6.4 million people.

  • Still, employers expect nearly two in five employees will still be working remotely at the end of 2021, compared with 57% who work remotely now, varying by industry.

Yes, but: Vaccine mandates do risk backlash, Ross Silverman, a professor at Indiana University, told Pew Charitable Trusts, and it could be better for companies to encourage vaccination and make it easily available for those who want it if possible, he said.

  • “That’s really where I think most of the conversations should be leaning, is how can you make workplaces safe as a system,” he said, “rather than trying to create a requirement for vaccination.” 
  • 65% of employers said they are planning or considering exploring vendor solutions to provide vaccines, according to the WTW survey.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that COVID-19 vaccines under emergency authorization cannot be required by employers and others.

Go deeper: There probably won't be a lot of vaccine mandates

Go deeper

Feb 25, 2021 - Health

"This is a race": Fauci urges Americans to take whatever COVID vaccine is available

Dr. Anthony Fauci Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci is encouraging Americans to take the coronavirus vaccine if it becomes available, regardless of which one it is.

Why it matters: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which will be administered in a single shot instead of two doses as required by the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, is expected to soon receive emergency authorization. Fauci said people should not wait to take the marginally more effective vaccines if the Johnson & Johnson shot becomes available to them.

37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

National parks "drowning in tourists"

Expand chart
Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.