Vaccines are developed with the main purpose of protecting an individual from the debilitating and sometimes fatal effects of communicable diseases. However, not all individuals believe so, leading to vaccine hesitancy and resistance.
These days, restoring vaccine confidence is critical, especially as the world is facing a global pandemic that’s claimed millions of lives. As the world grapples with increasing infections, government and private entities, such as workplaces, are reminded to step up their vaccination campaigns to reduce the chances of transmission.
In the workplace, employers must build staff confidence to increase vaccination rates. But first, you’d have to understand what this concept means.
Read on to learn more about this topic! Click on the sections below to jump right to your specific question.
- What is Vaccine Confidence?
- Why is Vaccine Confidence Essential?
- 1. Find Out the Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy
- P2. Provide an Avenue for Appropriate Answers
- 3. Gain Input on How to Build Vaccine Confidence
- 4. Support and Celebrate Those Who Get Vaccinated
- Final Thoughts
What Is Vaccine Confidence?
By definition, vaccine confidence refers to the state where all stakeholders and the rest of the public fully trust every process and the entities involved in the pre- and post-inoculation stages. This translates to the overall confidence in the efficacy of recommended immunizations, vaccine providers, and administrators, as well as the processes involved in developing, licensing, authorizing, and recommending the use of vaccines.
Why Is Vaccine Confidence Essential?
When individuals are fully confident in getting immunized, this creates a ripple effect. Full trust in vaccines is critical in achieving herd immunity, which can only be attained once the population becomes protected from an infectious disease.
When most of the population have been vaccinated, this translates to indirect immunity to those who aren’t inoculated, helping minimize infections. This phenomenon has helped drastically reduce the incidence of polio, measles, and chickenpox worldwide, most notably in developed countries.
It’s not much different in the workplace setting where maintaining employee health and well-being is every employer’s responsibility. When the staff are inoculated, this means they’re less likely to transmit the virus to their families, colleagues, and other people with whom they come in contact with.
In the same vein, employees shouldn’t be forced to have their immunizations. Rather, it should be a decision done freely. Below are some suggestions on how to build vaccine confidence in the work setting:
1. Find Out The Reasons For Vaccine Hesitancy
There are many reasons for vaccine hesitancy. One main contention may have something to do with the vaccine’s efficacy and potential side effects. For instance, vaccinations were believed to cause autism in children—a misconception that has since been refuted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Similarly, the flu vaccine was said to be linked to an increase in susceptibility to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder where the immune system destroys the nerve cells. In the United States, up to 6,000 individuals develop this mysterious condition, with most being able to recover. The CDC is still studying the actual link between the two, where up to 2 cases of the disorder develop per 1 million flu vaccines in a given season.
Apart from the potential side effects, individuals may have developed conspiracy theories; and it’s up to the government and employers to prove these misconceptions wrong. In the office, launch an informal survey or discussion in your office to understand how employees feel about vaccination.
2. Provide An Avenue For Appropriate Answers
One of the better ways to stop misinformation from fueling vaccine hesitancy is to create opportunities for your employees to ask questions without being judged. This way, they can freely talk about anything, including their anxieties and concerns. Here’s what you can do:
- Invite A Medical Expert: If your office has enough resources, have a medical expert conduct a meeting with the staff to discuss these.
- Provide Correct And Timely Information: Otherwise, provide the most updated answers to frequently asked questions, primers, and any updates about the vaccine. You can even post the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine but also include the steps done by authorities to prevent similar situations. Only share information from reputable sources, including state health departments and international and local agencies like the World Health Organization and the CDC.
Some members of the staff may have already been vaccinated, while some may need to have their questions answered clearly. By answering questions and taking time to listen to their concerns, the management can help employees get rid of misconceptions and build confidence enough for workers to get the shot.
3. Gain Input On How To Build Vaccine Confidence
To know which steps your office has to take in stepping up vaccine confidence, ask your employees for inputs. Organize a meeting with the staff from different levels to find out how to enhance trust in the inoculation process.
The CDC has released a COVID-19 vaccination communication toolkit for health providers in most settings, including the workplace. You may want to use it as a reference to your campaign and in dealing with employees.
While these references are beneficial, it may not be applicable to your business setup and situation, so always make sure the proposals you come up with are customized to suit your workplace.
4. Support And Celebrate Those Who Get Vaccinated
As an employer, you can facilitate access to this disease-preventing activity and implement supportive in-office policies for inoculations. Here are some things you could do on your end:
- Invite health providers over to your office for on-site vaccinations.
- If this isn’t possible, choose a venue that’s closest to your office.
- Provide transportation for your staff to and from the site.
- Organize free lunch or snacks for your employees.
- Offer paid sick leaves for one or two days for employees who manifest severe symptoms after immunization.
- Pay for their medical checkup, as necessary.
Consider spending for some tokens to give to your staff, post-vaccination. These can be in the form of pens, shirts, and other giveaways with the message ‘Just got vaccinated’ or the like. You don’t have to spend too much. A congratulatory card, a simple get-together, or gift certificates can be handed out to staff who’ve completed their doses.
Ask permission from your staff whether you can publish photos and videos of them getting inoculated on the company website, in social media, or even just on the office bulletin board.
Your office personnel are exposed to public transportation and public spaces outside the office corners, making them highly vulnerable to contracting diseases such as COVID-19. Areas where vaccine confidence is high could lead to more people getting vaccinated, which can help reduce infections as far as the current pandemic in concerned
Employee trust in getting vaccinated is essential, not only in maintaining wellness in the workplace but, more so, in the whole community. When all your staff are inoculated, your customers and business partners will be more inclined to transact with you.