HRE’s number of the day: vaccine willingness

56: Percentage of employees who say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine

Just over half of employed adults say they will get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a survey of 16,970 employed U.S. adults from Morning Consult, which was conducted between Oct. 29 and Jan. 29. Vaccine willingness varies based on professions–the number ranged from 47% among workers in the food and beverage industry to 77% among those in higher education. The retail, transportation, manufacturing, construction and leisure and hospitality sectors all saw below-average levels of vaccine willingness.

What it means to HR leaders

The data indicate that organizations and company leaders–often seen as allies in the success of vaccines–have significant work to do in convincing employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Other polls show similar findings–a poll from the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that just 55% of workers say they are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine–which is problematic because major buy-in is essential in driving down rates and getting society back to normal.

Related: Mayer: Don’t have a COVID-19 vaccine strategy? It’s time to make one

Research has indicated that employee incentives can drive inoculation rates and help convince workers who are on the fence about vaccines. A survey from Blackhawk Network, a payments provider, finds that certain incentives could boost vaccination rates. For as little as $100, one-third of employees would agree to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Employers are beginning to make vaccine plans–including rolling out incentives to employees to encourage vaccinations. Target recently announced it will provide up to four hours of pay–two hours for each vaccine dose–to hourly employees when they get their vaccine. It also will provide all workers with free Lyft rides, up to $15 each way, to get to and from their appointments if they need it. Kroger, which has nearly 500,000 workers, said it will offer employees who get the vaccine a one-time payment of $100. Aldi, Dollar General and Trader Joe’s are all offering four hours of pay total for getting the two doses.

Experts say those are smart strategies as enticements can be a powerful tool to sway workers.

Register for HRE’s Health and Benefits Leadership Conference here.

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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.