5 COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines Every Employer Needs To Know
With a post-pandemic future on the horizon, glimmers of hope spring forth. What is that said glimmer? Why, getting vaccinated, of course!
In order to speed things up, the public sector can vaccinate citizens, along with the private sector organizing employee initiatives utilizing proper COVID-19 vaccination guidelines. In fact, Google data shows that as of August 2021, 12.4% of the population took their first dose. On the other hand, 10.7% have already been fully vaccinated.
In terms of number of people, this means that 25 million Filipinos have been principally vaccinated and 11.6 million Filipinos are fully vaccinated.
But despite the shared data, the Philippines is still less than halfway from reaching 100% vaccination status.
More than that, businesses are itching to recover from their losses. Due to this, the Department of Trade and Industry is pushing to shift to MECQ so that face-to-face work can resume.
However, the private sector has good news to share. Companies in the private sector have already started their vaccine drives. In fact, those who purchased will already implement their programs once orders arrive.
With these in mind, employee safety is more urgent than ever. While watching over the health and safety of employees has been a primary duty, the pandemic has highlighted it as a critical priority. Amidst the safety reminders, how else can you care for your employees during these times?
How do you execute this? You can best reassure them through a proper vaccination program in place.
Where do you begin? We give you five ways to start out.
1. Have a company vaccination strategy
The question you have to ask yourself first is, “How do I get my employees to get vaccinated?” It would also help to know how you can distribute the vaccines equally for your branches outside NCR.
Set goals and targets. How many people should be vaccinated by this time? Also take into account the total number of people in your company.
A great illustration of this is San Miguel Corporation. The FMCG giant budgeted close to a billion pesos to ensure all of its 70,000 employees are fully vaccinated. Within the period of early July, almost 8,000 received their first dose.
While the big corporations are accomplishing these, SMEs are non-exempt from establishing their own program. During a webinar entitled “Bakunang Ligtas, Negosyong Bukas: Championing MSME Health and Safety,” vaccinations will help speed up business recoveries for this sector.
Since then, the government has allowed MSMEs to purchase their own vaccines and implement their programs hereafter. To speed things up, Go Negosyo, Robinsons Mall, and SM have banded together to provide MSMEs with vaccine access.
2. Get educated in COVID-19 vaccination guidelines and variants
Prior to walking the talk, you have to know what you are talking about. In this case, education is the first step to a successful implementation. This will not only ensure your employees, but also convince hesitant parties to rethink.
You can give talks about available vaccines or partner with a healthcare center to share more. If you have an in-house clinic or nurse, they can impart knowledge. In turn, you can also ask questions and relieve yourself of possible doubts you may have about vaccines in general.
With the rise of the Delta Variant, it is much better to be informed on how to prevent it from hitting you. Chances are, having a healthcare professional address your concerns is much better.
Cebu-based company Landmasters is a great example. Not only did they implement it, but they also partnered with local hospital Velez to help.
Being fully vaccinated increases credibility, so you can share firsthand your experience. But most of all, educate with ease. No one likes a nagger, even if it is beneficial in the long run.
3. Know employee rights
In the case of vaccination, there are two schools of thought you have to know. The first is that employees have the right to free vaccination.
But the second school of thought also discludes termination as an option for employees who opt not to be vaccinated.
Tackling the first one is easy because the Department of Health released a mandate on it. They state that private pharmacies and clinics are not authorized to sell COVID-19 vaccines. Hence you are not allowed to sell COVID-19 vaccines for your benefit.
Make sure to budget enough to cover your employees. But to avoid overspending, you can do a company-wide survey to determine exact units to order.
Admittedly, the second is a battle of moral grounds, because the vaccine is also a public safety response to combat the virus.
But on the other hand, there are several reasons why vaccination is still voluntary and not compulsory. Whether it be due to illnesses or others,you still cannot force your employees to get vaccinated. DOH has a ruling about that too.
In the said ruling, they remind companies not to implement a “no vaccine, no work” policy. Democratic respect is the base for this, wherein we take into account the employee’s personal belief system.
However, make sure that you also remind said employees about the risks of not being vaccinated.
4. Be aware of side effects and immunization periods
Just like with natural disasters, vaccine side effects vary from person to person. Some may feel fine and others complain of fever, weakness, and soreness.
Such are inevitable and may require employees to stay home for relief and rest.
When this happens, make sure that you check-in and ask if they are okay. If they cannot get to work, allow them to file for leaves accordingly. Letting them do so can prevent further exposure and allow the vaccine to take its immunization course.
During this period, you can implement a skeleton manning program to ensure equal rotation of your employees. If you did a mass vaccination day, you can opt for flexible working arrangements first. Whether that be work from home or shifting, the decision is up to you.
5. Buff up your safety plan
While being vaccinated comes with its benefits, make sure to remind your employees that being targeted is still inevitable. The Delta Variant is still rampant and could still hit you despite being immunized.
This is due to the fact that the vaccines, while protective already, are not yet enough to fight off the mutations of COVID-19. It is still important to keep safe and to take preventive action.
Integrate and continuously remind them to adhere to the implemented safety guidelines especially with new variants surfacing. The Delta Variant is one of the more popular ones and the variant with new symptoms for discovery. But it is said to hit people faster than the original COVID-19 virus.
Non-vaccinated employees can also stay safe because of this. If you need a training plan for your campaign to take effect then so be it. Work with your Human Resources team to constantly keep everyone abreast at all times.
Taking care of your employees is part of your corporate social responsibility. Make sure that you implement such programs with the proper COVID-19 vaccine guidelines in place. Most of all, have an empathetic heart, especially during these trying times. What your employees need right now is a positive glimmer of hope. Vaccines therefore are the closest thing you can give to sunshine now.
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