How to respond to Vaccine Misinformation in the workplace
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many Americans worked last year. So many businesses suffered as a result of the virus, with some having to close their doors completely. Now, thanks to the vaccine rollout, things are starting to get back to normal and workplaces are reopening – even if we still have a long way to go.
As of now, nearly 400 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given in the U.S. But, that number would likely be higher if there wasn’t so much vaccine misinformation going around. Because this particular vaccine was created quickly and authorized for emergency use, some people have been skeptical about getting it. While that’s a personal choice, it’s not okay for individuals to spread incorrect information about the shot in your place of business.
No matter what your business’ vaccine policy is, keeping your employees well-informed and safe should be a top priority. So, what can you do to encourage safety and discourage information about public health concerns in the workplace?
Work with a professional
Unfortunately, social media has made it very easy for misinformation about the vaccine to spread quickly. Anyone can create a meme or a legitimate-looking graph/statistic sheet and post it online. That doesn’t mean it’s true or accurate. According to the CDC, ways to find credible information about the vaccine include:
- Checking credible sources
- Making sure the information is up-to-date
- Asking the right questions
- Understanding medical jargon
If you want to make it easier for your employees to get more information and have their questions answered, consider working with a professional. Having an epidemiologist come into your workplace is a great way to show your staff you care about their wellbeing. Epidemiologists specialize in analyzing data that affects public health. They also develop public health awareness programs that can teach people how to protect themselves from outbreaks.
By letting an epidemiologist speak to your employees, they can give them real facts about the vaccine and directly answer any questions about misinformation or hesitation.
Provide accurate information
In addition to having a healthcare professional speak with your employees, you should consider it your responsibility to provide accurate information. As with any vaccine, there are a few exceptions when it comes to who should receive it.
For the most part, though, it has been proven safe and effective. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines save anywhere from 2-3 million lives each year. The COVID-19 vaccine may even go beyond that.
Use information directly from the CDC, WHO, or trusted medical journals/websites to share the facts with your employees. Having that information readily available can help to dispel any myths that might be floating around the office.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re well-educated on the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccine. If misinformation is being spread, some employees might come directly to you to discuss it. Being prepared with the right information is crucial in reassuring them and shutting down falsehoods.
Keep your employees safe
Depending on the size of your workplace, you might have different policies in place for keeping your employees safe. Maybe you’re not requiring the vaccine but encouraging it. Whatever the case, it’s still important to show your employees that their safety is your top concern – especially as variants are still running rampant around the globe. You can do your part by creating a safety strategy that includes:
- Social distancing
- Remote work options
- Signs that encourage frequent hand-washing
- Improving air quality
- Mask-wearing indoors
Simply having a policy in place can make a big difference in how safe your employees feel. Some people don’t feel ready to go back to work because their employers aren’t taking things as seriously as they should. Everyone wants to return to normal as soon as possible. But, we aren’t there yet. That’s why these individualized policies and strategies are so important.
In this fast-paced world where misinformation is spread so quickly and easily, it can be hard to keep up. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But, when you’re running a business, truth, and safety need to go hand-in-hand. Keep these suggestions in mind to respond to vaccine misinformation in the workplace. Doing so will give your employees peace of mind and will keep false statements and statistics from spreading a virus of fear across your company.
About the Author:
Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn’t searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.