Supporting employers’ COVID-19 vaccination rollout

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    HEALTH and security services firm International SOS is providing coronavirus vaccination planning support for the entire workforce of various companies.

    Dr. Carrianne Ewe, medical director at International SOS Philippines, said the companies’ holistic vaccination strategy ensures business continuity and builds employee confidence.

    Ewe noted the key approaches that companies should consider in developing their strategy.

    As companies play an important role in communicating instructions and can help define local guidelines, they should provide communication materials to their workforce on priority groups and the steps employees should take to receive the vaccine recommended by health authorities.

    Companies can also emphasize the importance and benefit of the recommended vaccines, and offer an opportunity for question and answer with a trained health professional.

    They should provide materials on the recommended vaccine in their country, how many doses are required, or the need for boosters.

    In countries where it is permitted, companies can create positive incentives to receive a vaccine, based on local legislation such as vaccination tracker and recognition.

    Employers may also be permitted – or expected – to identify those in higher priority groups that should be given access to vaccination first.

    Companies should take note that vaccine certificates may be requested or may even be required under future health and safety regulations.

    According to Ewe, providing employees and managers with the latest information on vaccine developments can help ease concern and allay anxiety. Companies must give assistance on how to access a vaccine in their location to help speed up access.

    Likewise, they can facilitate employees’ access to vaccination either in terms of flexible working arrangements or paid time off.

    They can also reduce logistical challenges by offering administrative support to relieve pressure on managers, and assist employees to resolve any language barriers which can be especially helpful for international assignees.

    International SOS also recommends making medical advice accessible to help employees in their decision-making, especially if they have to choose a type of vaccine.

    With the risk of fake vaccines and forged vaccination passports ever present, Ewe said enabling quality oversight of any vaccine program has never been more important.

    Ewe noted the need to provide a verified global overview of current vaccination availability and strategies being rolled out.

    Managers should also be assisted to navigate potential issues around vaccine quality and identify suitable local providers.

    Companies must provide access to the vaccine through a reputable external provider such as nurse on site or office vaccination clinics.

    Also, companies should identify where international assignees can avail of national vaccination programs in their country of residence and assist them to gain access. – Edison Joseph Gonzales