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Consider additional hours of PTO or overtime for receiving and recovering from vaccinations. 

The White House Covid action plan requires employers with more than 100 workers to provide paid time off for vaccinations and any recovery (pending final OSHA rules for implementation). If you are a smaller employer, consider extending the same benefit and letting your employees know. Concerns about missing work often contribute to vaccine hesitancy. Make your benefits available to all employees – full-, part-time, hourly workers and contractors, if possible. This is fair and signals that making vaccination easier is important to you. Many companies, including Aldi, Darden Restaurants, and Trader have been offering four to six hours of pay to cover vaccinations. As children become eligible for vaccinations, you might also offer parents paid time off to get their children vaccinated.

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Help offset out-of-pocket expenses associated with getting vaccinations.

Consider offering subsidies or vouchers for transportation to and from the vaccine site. Target provides free Lyft rides for employees to get vaccinated. You might also subsidize extra childcare or other family-related costs, which are often cited as a barrier. Besides Lidl, Dollar General and Instacart are also offering employees stipends to cover expenses related to getting vaccinated. Again, this sends a powerful message that you want to make vaccination easy – and truly cost-free.

Related:

REDUCING BARRIERS TO VACCINATION

Supporting Your Employees

Make it easier for employees to access vaccines and offer support throughout. This will increase confidence and follow-through.

Grocery Chain Tackles Barriers to Vaccination

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Recommendations

Consider opening onsite vaccination programs to vendors, contractors, volunteers and employee families. 

This reinforces that you value community health and builds trust in your organization.

Use trusted messengers to help you communicate information.

Trusted sources may depend on the information you are delivering and the audiences you are reaching. Public health institutions and medical professionals are often good sources for health information. Local leaders can be very effective in encouraging vaccination and addressing concerns. This is especially true for those belonging to minority communities and cultures. Stories from trusted leaders within your organization can be strong motivators too.

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Involve key stakeholders in evaluating and planning for an onsite vaccination program.

Onsite vaccination programs make getting vaccinated easy and convenient. They can also reduce vaccination reporting issues. Seeing other employees get vaccinated can also reduce vaccine hesitancy. Seek input from management, human resource professionals, employees and labor representatives if applicable. Onsite vaccination programs must offer vaccinations at no cost and during work hours. Ask your local public health department for guidance on health, safety and logistics.

Partner with local health care providers to provide vaccination clinics or mobile units at or near the worksite.

These partners have access to vaccine supplies, nursing staff, and equipment. Clinics should be open at times convenient to all employees (salaried, hourly and by shift). The location should allow refrigeration, storage and disposal of vaccines and other supplies. It should also provide for the management of severe reactions.

PROVIDING ONSITE VACCINATIONS

Make work schedules – including shift work – more flexible so that employees can get vaccinated.

Convenience makes vaccination more likely. Consider staggering vaccinations for employees in the same roles or work areas. This should be applicable to second doses and boosters. Trader Joe’s allows employees to change their work schedules for vaccination.

Make the administrative process as simple as possible for employees – and for Human Resources.

Use existing, familiar reporting procedures, wellness programs, and privacy protocols. For proof-of-vaccination, you can accept self-reports or ask for photos of vaccination cards. Tell employees how their vaccination information will be used and protected. Remember that vaccination tracking requirements and tools are evolving at organizational, local, state and federal levels. For transportation, consider contracting directly with a taxi company or ride-share provider. This makes receipts unnecessary. Adjusting benefit and payroll systems to accommodate changes can be frustrating. Spending time in advance to think them through is a worthwhile investment. 

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Communicate any changes in company or government policies clearly and immediately.

Many Covid-19-associated regulations are still in flux, as are most employers' own policies. Vaccine eligibility and availability, Covid-19-related leave, vaccine mandates, and safe workplace requirements can change rapidly.

Be sure to describe the reasons for policy changes. Highlight any specific impacts on, or actions required by, your employees. Communicate important changes in person (town halls, small groups, one-on-one) and in writing. This is particularly important if you are considering a vaccine mandate. Allow time and space for questions and answers. Train managers and supervisors on policy changes so they can answer questions too. Track local support programs like unemployment and emergency financial assistance, and rent or mortgage extensions. These resources may aid employees and their families. Parents may also appreciate up-to-date information about vaccines for children, as they are approved.

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Rely on evidence-based information about vaccination from credible sources.

Focus on resources from the CDC, local public health departments, and similar organizations. They have compiled clear information on vaccine testing, safety and effectiveness. Toolkits, posters, FAQs and other downloadable materials are available in several languages. If customizing your own materials, consider your employees’ concerns. Do they have any specific language or accessibility needs? Help managers and supervisors become comfortable using and delivering this information.

Related:

KEEP COMMUNICATING ABOUT VACCINATION

Keep Learning

KEEP IN MIND

Supporting employees is always important. When employees feel valued, they are more motivated, creative and productive. They also are more loyal to the organization. In times of crisis, leaders need to show their support in both words and actions, in ways consistent with their values. That includes listening and being empathetic and compassionate. It also includes being transparent about challenges and changes. During crises, leaders may also need to offer more or new kinds of support. You may want to provide greater flexibility in schedules and performance expectations. You may want to create different ways for employees to feel connected to the organization and each other. You may want to offer mental health support, such as online meditation apps or counseling services. Above all, show you understand – and care.

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Support for this website was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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LAST UPDATED: 12.20.21

This site is updated regularly. Check back often for new information on the changing landscape of vaccinations. 

This work was researched, designed and created by Worldview Studio.

Contact us at: info@worldview.studio

© 2021 COMMUNICATE TO VACCINATE

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