To vaccinate or not to vaccinate (your employees)? What is the employer’s role in a vaccination campaign? To answer these heated questions akkanto organized a webinar and panel discussion with Leïla Belkhir infectiologist at the University Hospital of Saint-Luc and Kris De Meester, chief advisor at the VBO/FEB. 

 “COVID is currently the third cause of death in Belgium after cardiovascular diseases and cancer”, explains Leïla Belkhir. “Vaccines remain the best weapon to fight this pandemic, as they give our immune system a head start in combating the virus. While vaccines may vary, they are all inherently part of the solution. When a plane is crashing, the colour of the parachute does not matter either”. 

 Should companies play an active role in the vaccination campaign? Here too, the answer is yes – provided that employees’ medical data and choices remain confidential, warns De Meester. 

These are three things companies can do today: 

  1. Inform your employees. This is key not so much to convince them, but to provide them trustworthy and reliable information to help them make an informed decision about whether or not getting vaccinated. Organising webinars, referring them to official information platforms, or even inviting a specialist are useful tools to inform your employees. 
  2. Facilitate access to the vaccines. Workplace vaccination is not an option (yet). However, a law is being drafted to allow employees to get vaccinated during work hours without this affecting employees’ pay. More than a potential legal obligation, it is also a company’s societal responsibility to facilitate vaccination. The faster the reach herd immunity, the faster we will be able to restore our freedoms.   
  3. Keep your employees safe and healthy at work. The vaccination campaign will not happen overnight. In the meantime, companies must continue to enforce all the necessary safety measures. As pandemic fatigue is seeping in, companies will need to find creative ways to enforce these. Other measures like rapid tests will also play a key role in creating and maintaining a safe workplace. 

Beyond these three immediate action points companies must also be ready to anticipate the aftermath of the vaccination campaign. The world as we knew it before corona has vanished and the “post-corona” world is yet to be defined. Whilst the government can provide us with some answers, business leaders must also start to offer direction to their workforce.   

Will the office after corona become a “Safe Space” or rather an “Energy space”? How can remote working and the physical workplace co-exist? How do you (re)-engage those who have lost their drive to work towards a common goal?  How do you uphold the agility, perseverance and flexibility so clearly demonstrated by your employees these past few months? 

If these questions tickle your fancy, get in touch with our experts: