A recent NPR/Marist poll found that one in four Americans said they would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered. However, vaccination is what it will take for us to reach herd immunity and return to normal, making it crucial for as many people to be vaccinated as possible. And even though millions of people have already been vaccinated, COVID cases are continuing to increase. Here’s what else you need to know about rising cases, vaccine hesitancy and how to promote vaccination.
Researchers are increasingly worried that vaccine reluctance will prevent the nation from reaching what's known as herd immunity, the point at which the coronavirus can no longer spread easily through the population and transmission peters out. Reaching high levels of vaccination is crucial for reaching herd immunity, which is ultimately what it will take for us to return to normal.
More people are being vaccinated every single day at an accelerated pace, yet COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing in some areas of the country.
Experts say there are several reasons for the rise in these numbers, including coronavirus variants, pandemic fatigue, and Americans moving around more. Plus, several states are loosening COVID restrictions, which doesn't help.
We've been through multiple lockdowns, and at this point, many people are tired of being cooped up. They've let their COVID guard down, especially now that it's warmer. Americans aren't wearing their masks, washing their hands, or practicing social distancing as much as they should be. Yet, the CDC states that all of these precautions are still just as important in slowing the spread, even if you've been vaccinated.
Benefits of Workplace Vaccination to Employers
The vaccine is a crucial tool in ending the pandemic, and with COVID cases still increasing, it's clear that vaccination is more important than ever. As an employer, encouraging vaccination among your workforce:
Reduces cost by decreasing time missed from work to get vaccinated
Reduces cost by reducing absences due to illness
10 Ways to Encourage Employees to Get Vaccinated
As an employer, you can build vaccine confidence by taking the following steps:
Encourage leaders in your organizations to be vaccine champions and share testimonials about why they got vaccinated and promote their stories.
Create a communication plan. Share key messages with staff through breakroom posters, emails, and other channels. Emphasize the benefits of protecting themselves, their families, co-workers, and community.
Adapt thekey messages to the language, tone, and format that will resonate with your organization. You know what works for your employees.
Encourage social support. Invite your employees to wear stickers once they have been vaccinated and post vaccination selfies on social media.
Have open discussions. Create and publicize a feedback mechanism for your employees to ask questions about COVID-19 vaccination (email inbox, phone number, point of contact).
Organize a virtual presentation, highlighting key facts about the vaccine. If virtual isn't possible, organize an in-person presentation following COVID-19 safety precautions. Ask if yourlocal health departmentcan provide a speaker if you do not have a health educator on staff.
Consider hosting a vaccination clinic at your workplace, and contact the health department in your jurisdiction for guidance. Offer the vaccination at no charge and during work hours.
Offer flexible, non-punitive sick leave options (e.g., paid sick leave) for employees with signs and symptoms after vaccination.
Get your business back to normal
By providing clear, accurate information about vaccines, employers can promote confidence in the decision to get vaccinated, increase vaccination among employees, and get back to normal, quicker. At TargetCare, we've created a COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit to help employers reinforce confidence in this important prevention tool. The toolkit covers topics such as benefits, safety, and FAQ's about the vaccine.