While most Australians are ready, willing and able to get vaccinated against COVID-19, there’s always going to be a minority unwilling or unable to receive the vaccine.
In fact, a recent survey by the Sydney Morning Herald and research company Resolve Strategic found that one-third of Australian adults were unlikely to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
As we well know that vaccination is the key to returning to normal life in Australia, employers have an important role to play in encouraging their team to get vaccinated. Encouragingly, this may not be as difficult as it may seem at first.
- Talk about it – openly and frequently
Address the subject of vaccination at team meetings, in weekly newsletters, across social media, even around the kitchen. Make it a topic of everyday conversation, with the question being: “When are you getting your jab?” rather than “Are you getting your jab?”
- Listen and answer questions
Listen to concerns during conversations about the vaccine. What are the main misgivings around receiving the vaccine? If you and other team leaders feel unqualified to answer these, bring in a local expert to answer questions – a doctor or nurse, for instance. State and federal government websites are a reliable source of information. Many health professionals are organising online webinars to dispel myths around the vaccine and help the community receive accurate information. Consider inviting the team to attend these as a group exercise, and then discuss it afterwards.
- Promote personal stories
Maintain positive messaging around vaccination, leading by example.
Share your own experience of receiving the vaccine – how did it feel? Why was it worth having? Encourage your employees to reflect on their personal “why”. For instance, I am having the vaccine because I want to travel again, because I want to visit my family overseas, because I’m asthmatic and worry about contracting COVID, because I’ve lost family members to the virus, etc. You may find that many of your employees have personal stories, which can inspire others.
- Incentivise vaccinations
Consider offering your employees half a day of paid leave to get the vaccine to make it easier for them to attend their appointments. Offering an extra days’ paid leave once both vaccines have been received can be an added benefit. Other small gestures such as reimbursing the travel costs to and from the medical practice, or providing a post-vaccine meal voucher or movie tickets can also go a long way in encouraging support.
While we may not win all hears, a few simple measures could help those who are vaccine-hesitant to book their jab with positive reinforcement!