Employers can consider a set of actions that supports Covid-19-vaccine adoption among employees by building conviction and making vaccination as convenient and “costless” as possible, McKinsey says.

With multiple Covid-19 vaccines authorized for use across the globe and mass immunization programs scaling up, optimism is increasing for a potential transition to normalcy over the next several months. Vaccine manufacturers continue to ramp up capacity, expanding the available supply to geographies with contracted volume commitments. Public-health authorities across the globe remain united in their support of vaccination as a critical tool in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. And despite pockets of concern, consumer confidence in COVID-19 vaccines is increasing as more real-world experience accumulates on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.

Nonetheless, challenges remain. With the spread of new variants, the level of vaccination required to achieve herd immunity likely still surpasses the share of consumers who have received or are interested in receiving a vaccine. The status of vaccine rollout varies significantly by geography, with different phasing and eligibility criteria. Uncertainty remains regarding the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and implications for the efficacy of current vaccines.

Given these tailwinds and headwinds, employers are uniquely positioned to support COVID-19-vaccine adoption. Any prospective approaches they take to support COVID-19-vaccine adoption should carefully consider what types of support employees want.

In this article, we’ll seek to bring clarity to organizations looking to support their own return-to-work efforts—and accelerate the path to societal and economic recovery—by supporting COVID-19-vaccine adoption. Our findings will be most relevant in the short term for employers in the United States (where the research underpinning this article was conducted) but will likely have implications for employers in other geographies as well.

We’ll describe, in particular, the following:

  • what vaccine-adoption support actions employees say they want from their employers and how that compares with what employers are doing today
  • what roles employers could play—and are playing—in supporting vaccination in their workforce, broader networks, and communities
  • how employers could navigate a return to work across a range of vaccination scenarios (for example, where only part of the workforce is vaccinated)

Employees are receptive to employer vaccination support, especially the actions employers are taking already

Over the past two months, we’ve conducted research with more than 400 US-based companies across a broad range of industries to understand what actions employers are taking to support workforce vaccination and which actions resonate strongest with employees.

Taken together, the research suggests the elements of a nascent “vaccination playbook” that draws from each of the three conditions generally correlated with the uptake of public-health interventions: conviction, convenience, and costlessness. Three findings stood out most prominently.

  1. All employer actions matter. Across each of the actions that employers could take, about 40 percent or more of employees said the given initiative would significantly increase their likelihood of getting vaccinated. Currently, not enough employers are offering the full range of initiatives that would have a meaningful impact on adoption rates at scale. Indeed, fewer than 20 percent of employers are pursuing six or more of the outlined actions.
  • Convenience and costlessness are often overlooked. Employer actions that increase convenience and reduce the cost of vaccination (real or perceived) were rated as somewhat more important to employees than those that support conviction. On average, about 45 percent of employees state that initiatives targeting convenience and costlessness would significantly increase their likelihood of getting vaccinated, versus about 41 percent of employees who said the same about initiatives focused on increasing conviction. However, only a minority of companies we surveyed are taking action to improve convenience and costlessness, suggesting further opportunities for companies that want to support vaccine adoption.
  • Paid time off for vaccination and recovery appeals to employees. The most-influential action highlighted in our survey is paid time off (PTO) for vaccination and the recovery period post-vaccination. That corresponds closely with one of the top sources of vaccine hesitancy—concerns about potential side effects. Employees say they want assurance that they can take time to recover from any potential vaccine side effects without incremental financial consequences.

By Tara Azimi, Jennifer Heller, Tom Latkovic, and Adam Sabow

Read the full article here.