Tips for encouraging COVID employee vaccinations among your workforce
Getting employees vaccinated against COVID-19 is essential for employers as they work toward fully bringing employees back to the worksite. Now that vaccines are available, employers are making important decisions about how to get employees vaccinated, how to track who has and hasn’t taken the vaccine, and how to encourage employees to sign up.
The CDC recently published a report on COVID-19 Vaccination Intent that revealed percentages of various priority groups that plan to get vaccinated. For those who do not intend to take the vaccine, the report spelled out the main reasons for vaccine hesitancy.
At the top of the list are:
- Concern about the side effects and safety of the vaccine
- Concern that the vaccine is being developed too quickly
- Plan to wait and see if it is safe and may get it later
- Mistrust in the government
Other reasons on the list include:
- Plan to use masks/other precautions instead
- General dislike of vaccines
- Not being a member of any group that is at high risk for COVID-19
- Belief that COVID-19 is not a serious illness
- Concern the vaccine will not work or that it could give the recipient the virus
- Dislike of needles
- Lack of awareness of the need to get a COVID-19 vaccine
Do any of these sound familiar? Chances are, you are hearing the same concerns from some of your employees and this list highlights the importance of tailoring information to individuals and communities. Here are a few tips for overcoming objections, promoting vaccine confidence and encouraging employees to sign up:
Understand your population
Different individuals and groups have different views of vaccines and therefore respond better to different messages. Hit your employees’ specific concerns head on if you know them or be sure to address all of the possible concerns if you don’t.
New information is available almost daily and employees' opinions may change rapidly. Keep them up to date with frequent communication that promotes the vaccine and its benefits to themselves and their families. Also let them know when vaccines will be available and if applicable, your plans for administering them to your employee population.
Educate with factual information
There is an abundance of information circulating about the vaccines, much of which is inaccurate. When providing information to employees, use credible sources such as the CDC and the vaccine manufacturers.
Lead by example
Employees are more likely to feel comfortable receiving the vaccine when they see others taking it. Share photos or videos of your CEO and other leaders getting their shots.
Vaccines won’t make COVID-19 disappear. They will, however, reduce the spread of the virus so that we can begin to resume more normal work activities, albeit while still following safety guidelines. To learn about employee vaccinations, watch a replay of a recent webinar featuring a panel of legal and occ health professionals as they share insight into how to manage the legalities and logistics of a mass vaccination program.