For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Winter ‘Tripledemic’ Highlights the Need to Stay at Home When Sick—and the Need for Paid Sick Leave to Make It Possible

Cartoon of person in bed with tea in hand and thermometer in mouth

January 6, 2023

As the United States approaches nearly 100 million COVID-19 cases and the convergence of a widely reported “tripledemic” of COVID-19, the flu, and Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), this holiday season and new year, policymakers should support paid sick leave policies to prevent the spread of infectious disease, say researchers at the Dornsife School of Public Health (DSPH) in a recently published paper in the journal Health Affairs.

The study’s authors compared sick leave and vaccination data from 37 major U.S. cities in 2021 and found that a lack of paid sick leave was linked to lower COVID-19 vaccination rates.

Specifically, they found a statistically significant 17% higher rate of vaccination in cities that had mandated paid sick leave than in cities that did not require availability of paid sick leave. This link was strongest in the most socially vulnerable neighborhoods – as measured by the CDC’s Social vulnerability index — suggesting that sick leave policies particularly benefit lower-income communities and are a force for lowering health disparities among neighborhoods within a city.

The DSPH research team controlled for other factors that might influence vaccination rates, such as how the city’s population voted in the 2020 presidential election, local health spending, and city sociodemographic attributes.

"[L]ower-income workers...deserve the respect and care that paid leave offers so that they can become vaccinated and also take care of themselves and their families when sick and create healthier workplaces for all," said lead author, Alina Schnake-Mahl, ScD, MPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy (HMP) and the Urban Health Collaborative at DSPH.

Read the full article on the Drexel News Blog: Winter ‘Tripledemic’ Highlights the Need to Stay at Home When Sick—and the Need for Paid Sick Leave to Make It Possible