GM preps to unveil plan to workers around COVID-19 vaccine distribution

By Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

DETROIT — General Motors is preparing for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines that it will likely unveil to workers this month.

GM has been talking with health department and government leaders to coordinate who will be leading and conducting vaccine distribution, GM spokesman David Caldwell said Monday.

GM plans to share information on vaccine distribution to its employees in the next few weeks, Caldwell said.

"Throughout the pandemic GM has communicated health and safety guidance to employees — including a series of videos and Q&As on topics like masks, workplace safety protocols, flu shot processes and more," Caldwell said. "That will continue in the coming weeks, including our plan for employees and vaccines."

GM is taking questions from workers on an ongoing basis and answering them through its internal communications venues, he said.

But GM has not yet bought any freezers or other equipment to house any vaccines.

"At this point, we're not purchasing special equipment," Caldwell said. "At least not until we know the type of vaccine likely to be distributed in certain areas, as not all vaccines require special equipment."

But GM is analyzing its capacity for storage if it is required to store the medicine, he said.


Last week, Ford Motor Co. said it had ordered a dozen ultra-cold freezers to store vaccines globally when they become available. The vaccine would be offered only to employees, but the plan was still fluid, the company said.

GM is cautious about its plan around the vaccine because most of its employees are not going to be first in line to get it.

"It's important to keep in mind that essential workers and others with specific types of health conditions or elderly will likely be first in line when government health departments establish distribution plans," Caldwell said. "GM employees are not considered essential workers, according to current criteria."

While it's still being decided whether GM will incentivize workers to get a vaccine, GM will educate the workforce about it and "definitely encourage" its employees to get one when available, he said.

"Those conversations are underway," Caldwell said. "We're preparing those things internally for when the time is right as to here's how to take it and we'll educate employees on who should get it."

Some of GM's factory workers worry that GM would make a vaccine shot a condition of employment, but Caldwell said that would not be the case.

A Ford spokeswoman said there are no incentives planned to get employees to take the vaccine at the moment.

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