Following the successful rollout of vaccines against the COVID19 virus, we have been asked by clients, what should employers do when employees have been vaccinated from COVID19? Most people receiving the vaccine in the first wave are elderly and retired people. However, some younger working people have received the vaccine in the first wave. This could be because they are clinically extremely vulnerable or they are a health care worker or engaged in a similar sector.
Following Lockdown Rules
Anyone who receives the vaccine must continue to follow lockdown rules and your COVID-19 secure workplace procedures. These must still be adhered to as even vaccinated employees could potentially transmit the virus to unvaccinated people.
Vaccination does alter an employer’s approach for some clinically highly vulnerable staff. Having the vaccine means these workers can better protect themselves. After both doses have been received, they may be able to finish shielding and return to the workplace. However, only if it’s essential that they return to the workplace and following an individual risk assessment. Current lockdown rules will apply to other employees who may still need to work from home, depending on the nature of the role.
Planning for Wider Rollout
Vaccinations in the UK have not been made mandatory and there is no indication this will change for COVID-19. However, for public health reasons and to protect themselves and others from disease, it’s desirable to have as many people vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible. Therefore, employers should encourage staff to be vaccinated when it’s offered and publicise the benefits of the vaccine. You may wish to consider creating a vaccine policy in work.
Why Should I Encourage Vaccination?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 obliges employers to take reasonable steps to reduce any workplace risks. This duty gives you as the employer justification for encouraging your employees to be vaccinated. This is to protect themselves and everyone else at the workplace. COVID-19 is also a reportable disease under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (known as RIDDOR). This strengthens employers’ encouragement that employees should agree to vaccination.
Most people will welcome the opportunity to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, there will be a minority who will be reluctant or refuse to have the vaccine. The reasons could be many and varied. This includes individuals who can’t have the vaccine, those who can have the vaccine, but refuse it because they have concerns or are uncertain. While it’s primarily the role of the government and health service to combat vaccine hesitancy, employers play a vital role in helping promote a persuasive and positive case for COVID-19 vaccinations. You are the gatekeepers for the health and safety of employees.
You can publicise the benefits to improve take up of the vaccine when offered through the NHS. Explaining and encouraging employees with impartial, factual information will keep them informed about the workplace impact and risks of COVID-19. It is advisable to retain copies of any communications you produce in encouraging vaccination. This is in case any pro-vaccine employees potentially believe that you have not taken adequate steps to comply with your health and safety duties.
If you would like more advice on Vaccination Policies in work or on ways to communicate encouragement amongst staff then please contact us on 01706 565 332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get right back to you.