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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Private equity firms are sitting on the sidelines when it comes to vaccine mandates for portfolio companies, despite often requiring shots for their own employees.

Why it matters: Private equity employs around 7% of all American workers, and is represented in almost every industry and geography, which means that PE vax mandates could have a significant impact on public health.

  • Yes, vax mandates are controversial. And, as of last night, not allowed in Texas (where private enterprise autonomy only goes so far).
  • But if firms implement vax mandates in their own offices, why not in the offices of companies they own? Is the health and safety of portfolio company employees considered less valuable than that of their direct employees?

Behind the scenes: Several firms tell me that they encourage portfolio company vax mandates, and that they've provided virtual trainings and information sessions on COVID and vaccinations. But they've stopped short of requirements.

  • Part of the apathy is tied to President Biden's plans to require vaccinations or regular testing for all private companies with at least 100 employees. In short, firms are waiting on those rules, which Labor Secretary Marty Walsh recently told me should come "in the next several weeks."
  • But even if those rules don't get caught up in legal red tape, there are plenty of PE-backed businesses that fall below that 100 employee threshold.

The bottom line: For private equity, all of this is unprecedented. And hard. And uncomfortable. And part of doing the job.

Go deeper

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
18 hours ago - Health

Supreme Court declines to block Maine health care workers vaccine mandate

A Maine health care worker prepares vaccine dose. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an emergency appeal of a vaccine mandate for Maine health care workers.

The big picture: The mandate, which was announced in August by Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, says that Maine health care workers need to be vaccinated by Oct. 29 or risk losing their jobs and not qualifying for unemployment benefits.

22 hours ago - Health

J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year

J&J's COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson registered $502 million of global revenue from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter, bringing year-to-date vaccine sales to $766 million.

The big picture: J&J, which is selling the vaccine at a not-for-profit price of $7.50 per dose, still expects to generate $2.5 billion of COVID vaccine sales this year, executives said Tuesday. But that total will still dwarf the use and sales of the vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.