COVID-19 vaccine: our experts' quarterly predictions for 2021
As we entered 2021, a lot of emphasis was on tackling the infodemic of the COVID-19 vaccine types, efficacies, and expected rollout plans globally. Our health experts Dr Anthony Renshaw and Dr Myles Druckman share their quarterly predictions for the COVID-19 vaccine and the related considerations for organisations for the rest of 2021.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout evolves throughout 2021 and beyond, our experts recommend four important factors for organisations to consider as the topic shifts quarter by quarter.
1. Information & intelligence
In order for organisations to carry out informed and agile decision making, having access to vetted and medically validated information will be key. Actively monitoring the information based on the unique profile of your workforce and operating locations will avoid business disruption and keep your people safe and healthy. This intelligence will also ensure your organisation remains globally compliant and void of any legal implications.
2. Policy review and adaptation
As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout evolves, your processes and policies originally need to adapt. This should be a collaborative task involving key stakeholders across different functions in your organisation (e.g.C-Suite, HR, Legal, Health and Safety, and Risk Management). Key questions to be considered include:
- Is it still aligned with the previsioned timelines?
- Is it still relevant based on latest local recommendations?
- Does it still comply with new regulations? If not, think of further details to complement it and make it compliant
- Have we amended our policies and procedures based on the feedback of our employees?
3. Educate & communicate
After having agreed the different modifications of your policies and plan of action, ensure you communicate it clearly to your workforce and educate them to the new or changing measures implemented.
4. Assisting your people with vaccine procurement
Employers will be expected to play an active role in facilitating access to vaccines. Key steps and actions can be considered in order to help you embark on this journey and fulfil your Duty of Care:
- Providing a verified global overview of current vaccination availability and strategies being rolled out.
- Assisting managers to navigate potential issues around vaccine quality and identify suitable local providers.
- Providing access to the vaccine through a reputable external provider (e.g. nurse on site or office vaccination clinics), which may become available in some countries. Inform yourself on the staffing services available locally.
- Providing employees and managers with assistance on how to access a vaccine in their location to help speed up access.
- Facilitating employees accessing vaccination, either in terms of flexible working arrangements or paid time off.
- Reducing logistical challenges by offering administrative support to relieve pressure on managers.
- Assisting employees to resolve any language barriers, which can be especially helpful for international assignees.
- Providing access to medical advice to help employees’ decision making, especially if choices are needing to be made on the type of vaccine or in which country a vaccine could be accessed.