Employers are a Trusted Source for Vaccination Guidance

Empty vaccine bottles exiting production line

Employers are a Trusted Source for Vaccination Guidance

As of the writing of this blog, COVID-19 cases in the US alone are well over 30 million with over half a million deaths according to CDC data. This pandemic has altered business practices and has a profound effect on workplace safety and the economy. Thankfully, the available COVID-19 vaccines have shown to be at least 94% effective against severe disease and death and will reduce the possibilities for virus mutation. While we still need to practice prevention strategies (distancing, hand washing, monitoring, and mask wearing), improving vaccination rates will allow businesses to resume operations and minimize lost time due to worker illness.

Employers have a significant role in vaccination success. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, employers are the most trusted sources of information about the COVID-19 pandemic and company CEOs are seen as trusted spokespeople. Therefore, it is imperative that companies provide their employees with frequent updates and information about vaccine effectiveness and safety, and that they facilitate employee access to vaccinations. Below are some things to consider for workplace program success.

Leadership role:

  • Provide statements from top leadership encouraging employee vaccination when they are eligible.
  • Appoint a competent person to monitor and disseminate new information from trusted sources.
  • Provide science-based information in easy-to-understand language.Consistent messaging should permeate all levels of management. Fact sheets in a variety of languages can be found here.
  • Recognize cultural barriers to vaccination and identify community and medical leaders who can provide support.
  • Provide regular question and answer sessions to small groups or individually to address employee concerns. Direct employees with specific medical concerns to their physician for further information and be available to assist in making an appointment if needed.
  • Keep records of employee vaccinations and overall vaccination percentage rates in the workplace. This will aid in decision making about future policy and procedure changes when they are recommended by the CDC and local public health departments.

    Other ideas to support employee vaccination access:

  • Provide onsite vaccinations or provide employees information on where and how to obtain vaccination. Visit your state’s health department website for more information.
  • Support and implement incentive or recognition programs. Care should be taken to avoid discrimination against those unable to take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.
  • Offer paid leave for the time needed to obtain a vaccine.
  • Offer transportation to vaccination sites.
  • Encourage employees to receive their vaccination prior to a scheduled day off or provide liberal time off policies to address vaccination side effects.
  • Understand the side effects of the vaccine mimic COVID-19 symptoms so an employee may not pass your daily symptom screening. This may require a worker to miss a shift.According to the FDA, the vaccine does not affect the results of PCR or antigen testing for the COVID-19 virus.

Workplace vaccination information and programs are keys to influencing greater community safety and reducing the grip the COVID-19 pandemic has on our quality of life. Business owners and top leadership are essential in championing such programs, but it is every leader’s responsibility to provide support for a safer future.

For more information, visit the CDC workplace vaccination program and COVID-19 Vaccination Toolkits

Refer to MEMIC’s blogs "COVID-19 Vaccines" and COVID-19: Addressing Vaccination Hesitancy for more vaccine facts.