Prioritizing the health and safety of their own staff, their families, and the larger society, responsible companies today must play a proactive role to support Covid-19 vaccination, especially as vaccination refusal seems to be growing amongst people all over the world. A high rate of vaccination nationwide – scientists say a minimum of 75 percent of the total population –  is critically required to be achieved to control the pandemic’s threat to public health, or achieve herd immunity, and to start returning to full economic activity and some degree of normalcy.

Businesses and other organizations must therefore step up their engagement with employees, educating and convincing them of the necessity to get fully vaccinated, and help them overcome vaccine hesitancy. This can be done in one of several ways, and even in more than one way, depending on the size of the organization in terms of employees’ number. Small group meetings addressed by the CEO, lectures by relevant medical professionals organized by the company and town-halls organized for very large groups are just 3 ways to engage with the employees.

The result of such engagement need to be monitored diligently in order to increase the frequency of engagement if required, or to improve the communication in the engagement to directly address the concerns or apprehensions of the reluctant employees, as adjudged from the earlier engagement.

‘Champion’ employees can also be actively supported to become advocates for vaccination in their communities through organizing and supporting community awareness campaigns.

To facilitate employees get vaccinated, an organization can also offer workers paid leave to receive the vaccine and recover from its side effects, if any, till such worker is well enough to return to work. Companies can also arrange on-site vaccination for employees at the workplace, or provide free transportation to and fro to vaccination sites.

Some businesses who suffered a lot during the past 18 months or so owing to frequent lockdowns, like restaurants and stores can consider offering discounts to customers who are vaccinated and carry proof of same. Not only will their business pick up because of the discount on offer, but vaccinated citizens will prefer to patronize such outlets where they feel safe, because all other customers are also vaccinated like them.

Yes, there are by now countless conspiracy theories relating to the vaccines, ranging from the foolish to the bizarre. But in an organizational context the leadership of every organization needs to now aggressively drive vaccination of its own workforce at the least, even to the point of penalizing or even dismissing those employees who still refuse to get vaccinated. In our own country, the principal body governing the policies and implementation of the national COVID-19 effort of Pakistan, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) has now made it mandatory for all public and private sector organizations to get all their employees vaccinated. The time to act for organizations who are still ambivalent about employees’ vaccination is NOW!   

About Author

Erum Surani is a client service executive in APR’s head office in Karachi. She supports the client service team on several client accounts and also assists our CEO. In her personal time, Erum likes to do fashion designing and writing

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