HRE’s number of the day: COVID vaccine worries

71: Percentage of employees who say they’re concerned about side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

About seven in 10 employees are concerned about side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a survey of 1,000 consumers from wellness provider Welltok. Meanwhile about half of Americans (52%) are concerned there will not be enough supply of the vaccine and nearly 60% of people also indicate preference for a specific brand of COVID-19 vaccine, the survey finds.

What it means to HR leaders

The numbers are the latest to highlight the hesitance and concerns some employees feel about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent Gallup survey finds that about one-third of Americans do not plan to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Despite those impediments, encouraging employees to get vaccinated is a main goal of many organizations this year as vaccination is the primary way for employers to get back to business as usual. “This has got to be your first priority going into 2021,” Holland says.

Related: HR’s next big job: Convincing employees to get COVID vaccines

Experts say consistent education and communication is vital in order to get employees to buy into getting the vaccine.

“Taking a moment to reach out to your employees and educate them is really vital because there’s a lot of fear, misinformation, a lot of people providing falsehoods,” Dr. Scott Conard, chief medical officer at Holmes Murphy, said last week during a webinar. He added that he is comfortable with the new vaccines from makers Pfizer and Moderna, and with their efficacy and safety, and said employers should not hesitate to encourage workers to get them.

Communication should be frequent and come from both team leaders and company leaders, experts say. Giving them safety and efficacy data on the COVID vaccine can be helpful, too.

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.