The COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
In 2020 we were introduced to the then-new COVID-19 virus. The majority of people in the UK did not think it would affect them and thought this new virus was just like the flu. This blog will give you vital Vaccine Guidance for Businesses.
Today, we all know that COVID-19 is serious and here to stay (for the short-term at least).
Luckily, throughout 2020 there were many vaccine trials conducted by scientists all over the world, bringing about the fastest vaccine program to date.
The UK went into the first national lockdown on the 23rd of March and by December 2nd we had the first approved COVID-19 vaccine!
The Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the UK and it was quickly distributed and given to the most at-risk groups.
Shortly after, two more vaccines were approved from Oxford–AstraZeneca and Moderna and were quickly rolled out to the government’s priority groups (care home & NHS staff and those over 80).
All of the approved vaccines in the UK have high levels of effectiveness – up to 95% protection after two doses.
This is an extremely impressive efficiency for such a ‘young’ vaccine compared to other vaccines; for example, the flu vaccine only provides 40-60% protection.
As of the 10th of February 2021, over 13 million people in the UK had received their first dose of the vaccine.
Currently, the UK has one of the best vaccination programs in the world – vaccinating more people than any other country in Europe!
However, it may take some time before most people have their first and/or second jab.
If people have their vaccine at their workplace, it could seriously speed up the rollout and help eradicate COVID-19.
Receiving a vaccine at your place of work may seem slightly strange, but there are many benefits for both employers and employees.
Offering free, on-site vaccinations is a great way to ensure your workplace stays healthy and COVID-free!
Before COVID-19 appeared, workplace vaccinations were not a new idea with many countries encouraging employers to offer vaccinations (flu, tetanus, MMR, etc) to their staff.
In 2010, a research paper found that having workplace vaccines for the flu improved the compliance rate of employees, even in larger companies.
Now, workplace vaccines are far more common than they were in the past – With many businesses trying to take a proactive stance on employee health.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), employers have a responsibility to protect their employee’s wellbeing and health.
This is why many companies have an occupational health department that deals with issues like on-site vaccines.
Advantages of Workplace Vaccines –
- Convenient for Employees – No need to take time off or travel to receive vaccines, plus it can be done at any time of day.
- Improved Morale – Shows that the employer values their employees enough to put the time and money into an on-site vaccine rollout.
- Less Time Off for Illness – Employees are less likely to take time off for illnesses like the flu
- Increased Productivity – With fewer employees taking time off, there is less disruption to the productivity of the company.
- Less Wasted Money – Reduces costs by decreasing the amount of time off for vaccines and less time off for illness.
- Workforce Stays Healthy – Fewer employees catch and transmit illnesses between themselves.
COVID-19 Vaccines at Work.
A large majority of jobs include a fair amount of social interaction – Dealing with both colleagues and the general public.
We now know that COVID-19 thrives in social situations, which is why we’ve had so many lockdowns.
This is why it is so important for companies to consider having the COVID-19 vaccine at workplaces.
Providing these vaccines at work is a good way to guarantee that your workforce is safe from transmitting COVID-19.
Additionally, workplaces that facilitate and encourage employees to take the vaccine may be more likely to stay open if there is another lockdown in the future.
Organising COVID-19 vaccines at work will take a lot of planning and preparation and will most likely be a collaborative effort between departments.
Health and safety, medical, HR and management teams will need to work together to ensure the smooth running of the workplace rollout.
Workplaces cannot force their employees to get vaccinated, however, having an on-site facility greatly improves the likelihood of staff accepting the vaccine.
If employees do not have to go out of their way, potentially having to wait or travelling long distances, there’s a much higher chance of them accepting the vaccine.
Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines are only being given to people over the age of 50, health/social care workers and those who are critically vulnerable.
These priority groups are targeted to have had their first dose of the vaccine by the end of spring which is rapidly approaching.
After these groups have received the vaccine, the under 50s will have access to the vaccine rollout!
With approximately 30 million workers soon to be eligible to receive the jab, the government has suggested that workplaces may be the best venue available.
Making the COVID vaccine available at workplaces means those who usually wouldn’t go to the doctors/hospital will now have easy access to the vaccination program.
This means that more people will be able to get vaccinated – Taking us one step closer to herd immunity!
However, WHO has stated the number of people who need to be immune to a virus differs with each disease.
For example, for measles, it requires 95% of the population to be immune before herd immunity is reached.
For polio, 80% of people need to be immune before herd immunity takes effect.
COVID-19 is still very new and scientists do not know what proportion of the population needs to have COVID antibodies to reach herd immunity.
This highlights why it is so crucial that everyone who can take the vaccine should.
If compliance with the vaccine is high, we may be free of this pandemic by the end of the year!
Amber is an Intern project support officer and blogger for Wurkplace, helping with digital marketing and content writing.
She holds a BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour degree from the University of Chester, and is passionate about broadening her skill set.