1. Establish a vaccine committee
Establishing a committee of key employees with legal, workplace safety, and human resources knowledge should be the first course of action to:
- Serve as a central point of contact
- Develop a formal vaccination plan and rollout
- Build education and communication materials
- Provide sign-up instructions for employees and identify locations for administering the vaccine
- Sign up for government registration
2. Figure out your place in the vaccine line
As the open vaccination season begins, employees of essential businesses will be the first to receive the vaccine. To determine whether your employees are essential or nonessential, you can connect with your local trade or industry association for more details if you are unsure.
3. Determine if you will mandate the vaccine
Depending on your specific business circumstances, you may consider whether or not to mandate the vaccine for a portion or all of your employees. To avoid legal issues, you should coordinate with your legal counsel to ensure you address factors such as accommodation, privacy, discrimination and other potential issues ahead of time.
4. If you don’t mandate, consider encouraging the vaccine
If you choose not to mandate the vaccine, you can adopt protocols to encourage your employees to get the vaccine. Work with your legal counsel to create a proper correspondence that reflects your encouragement.
5. Consider incentivizing the vaccine
Incentivizing the vaccine can be used as encouragement in place of a mandate. There are potential legal risks associated with wellness program rules, IRS requirements, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and religious accommodations, financial limitations on incentives and notice requirements under the federal law. Consult your legal counsel for assistance in designing your incentives.
6. Create an effective education campaign
While concerns for the COVID-19 vaccine are understandable, addressing these concerns by providing educational materials sourced from the CDC or your local health authority can help alleviate these concerns. Remember to be as forthcoming as possible with this information.
7. Consider on-site vaccinations
Larger employers might consider offering on-site vaccination centers by permitting healthcare personnel to administer the vaccine on company property. Be sure to consult your legal counsel regarding the potential issues of premise liability, privacy, confidentiality and more before establishing your on-property vaccination site.
8. Account for post-vaccination issues
It’s not uncommon for vaccine recipients to experience side effects following the second dose. You’ll need to proactively determine how to manage potential staff shortages by staggering vaccine appointments within departments, scheduling lighter days following the vaccine and potentially offering more paid time off.
9. Maintain safety measures in the workplace
It’s recommended that you require all employees, even those who have been vaccinated, to follow the CDC guidelines until otherwise notified by the CDC. This includes:
- Wearing face masks over nose and mouth
- Staying at least 6 feet away from others
- Avoiding crowds
- Avoiding poorly ventilated spaces
- Social distancing
- Washing hands often
10. Monitor vaccine developments closely
The nature of the pandemic and available vaccines continues to change rapidly, so it is extremely important for your company to monitor developments as they evolve.