Company support for the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to slowing the spread of this pandemic
Even while researchers and pharmaceutical companies are working tirelessly to find a vaccine to help immunize Americans against COVID-19 in an effort to return the country to some state of normalcy, it is critical that companies support vaccine adoption.
As a matter of fact, support for any COVID-19 vaccine is the next hurdle faced by health professionals, policymakers and political leaders. Are Americans ready and willing to be vaccinated once a vaccine is ready?
Even with vaccines that have been proven safe and effective for decades, there are still organized groups that promote disinformation and even lies about the effects of vaccines. Anti-vaxxers are very vocal and there is ample public opinion data that, because of this influence, a large percentage of Americans are against vaccines in general.
And many people believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is being rushed to market and may not be adhering to all necessary safety protocols. This means that the number of those who will elect to either not get the vaccine or wait until they see how the vaccine impacts early adopters will increase dramatically.
A third of Americans are already saying they have no interest in getting a COVID-19 vaccination if one becomes available regardless of cost.
The U.S. Centers for Disease and Control Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service has evidence that a pandemic is just as much a communications issues as it is a medical crisis. In this digital age, it is easy for people to find misinformation that will support their beliefs that will, in turn, reduce their motivation to get vaccinated.
In 2019, the WHO cited vaccine hesitancy (the indecision about accepting a vaccination) as one of the top 10 threats to global health.
How Can Businesses Help Change this Concerning Tide?
A “herd immunity” is needed to turn the COVID-19 pandemic tide – meaning that enough people accept and get a vaccine. But what can companies do to support this effort?
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “leaders have advocated that advancing health literacy – the degree to which people have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions – is crucial to building and maintaining public confidence in vaccines.”
But what can companies do?
Large employers such as Apple, Google and Mastercard are already leading the way. They are communicating to their employees that the full reopening of their workplaces are dependent on the success of the COVID-19 vaccination. They are providing their employees with research-based, tested information in an effort to dispel vaccine misinformation and disinformation.
Popular opinion is that communication must be done in relevant, meaningful and personal terms. Oftentimes, and especially now, scientific facts will not motivate a majority of people to act.
From the Harvard Business Review:
“Consequently, even before a vaccine is approved, national and state leaders must engage a network of champions to locally communicate effectively with the public about risks, benefits, allocation and targeting, and availability. This is where the business community can play an important role. The world’s biggest employers should immediately support — with their money and brands —common-sense information campaigns that promote vaccine acceptance and defuse anti-vaccine sentiments. In order to ensure widespread public acceptance as soon as vaccines have cleared all the appropriate scientific hurdles, those campaigns must be launched now.”
We Can Help
Baker Creative has the communication professionals that can help your business effectively communicate your company’s policies and plans regarding reopening during the pandemic. We will develop a commination plan designed specifically around your needs and tailored to how your employees want and need to best receive important information.
Just fill out this short questionnaire (INSERT LINK) giving us a short overview of your needs and goals. We will be in touch to discuss how we can help you and your company make an impact and change the COVID-19 tide.
Written by: Denise Clark, PR Specialist