The moment Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine in Singapore, everybody's eyes were lit up. Chat groups were flooded with travel plans and pictures.
The vaccine could spell the end of a nearly 2-year long pandemic to Singaporeans that has grounded us with travel restrictions. All of us look forward to the days we can fly again.
Shortly after the announcement, many scepticism and confusion emerged when rumours of the vaccine's side effects were spread widely.
As an employer, you are probably wondering whether your employees would be safe to work after the vaccination and your role and rights in the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme.
In this article, we will answer some of your burning questions:
Many people see the vaccine as a cure, but it's not quite right. A cure is a substance that kills the bad bacteria causing your illness.
A Covid-19 vaccine is actually a weakened non-dangerous fragment of Covid-19 bacteria that triggers your body to build its own antibodies to fight against the infection.
Vaccines work by using our body's immune system to create our own antibodies.
There are 3 types of vaccines currently administered in Singapore: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Astra-Zeneca.
There is a small chance that the vaccines could cause severe allergic reactions. They usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the vaccine. Your employees will be monitored for 30 minutes at the vaccination centre in case allergic reactions happen.
Side effects of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine:
Side effects of Moderna vaccine:
Side effects of Astra-Zeneca vaccine:
Download each of the vaccine's fact sheets below to learn more about the vaccines:
Are all Covid-19 vaccines equal? If not, how are they different?
The following table summarises the differences quite well:
What do mRNA and Adenovirus mean?
mRNA and Adenovirus are different technologies used to create these vaccines. Both of them teach our cells to make proteins that trigger our immune systems to act against the Covid-19 infection.
The difference is how they do this: mRNA stores a part of the genetic code of the bacteria, whereas Adenovirus uses a weakened non-dangerous bacteria. Both of them do not cause Covid-19, that’s for sure.
Covid-19 vaccination is recommended but voluntary. Employers should not make vaccination compulsory for their employees, but they can strongly encourage and provide incentives.
Singapore’s Minister of Health, Minister Gan Kim Yong, has stated that employers do not have to review the employee's job scope or redeploy those who decline to take the vaccination unless there is a resurgence of infection.
Employers need to adopt safe management measures to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection at workplaces such as:
McKinsey has surveyed more than 400 US-based companies to understand what actions employers are taking to support workplace vaccination and which of these actions resonates the strongest with employees. In their findings, three actions stood out most prominently:
Over 40% of employees indicate employers' actions matter significantly, but most employers didn’t do enough
But what do we mean by conviction, convenience, and costlessness? Most importantly, how your organisation can take more strategic actions?
Conviction is a visible commitment by employers seeking to vaccinate their employees. Most of the conviction-building actions rely on your internal communication channels. This allows you to cut through the noise and deliver facts and information straight to their inbox or meetings.
Some of the actions you can take to build conviction are:
Convenience is the first overlooked factor. Many employees are concerned and worried about the vaccination, and your role as an employer can improve their experience.
What you can do to make vaccination more convenient are:
Costlessness is the second overlooked factor that some employees may be struggling with. The Covid-19 vaccine in Singapore is free for all residents, but there are some non-monetary costs involved.
Around 12% of employees reported that the time away from work to be vaccinated or due to side effects is a barrier to vaccination.
You can help overcome this barrier by:
Learn more about Singapore’s Vaccination Programme here.
Update: Keep up to date with the latest plan by the government to tackle Covid-19 from PM Lee's latest address on May 31, 2021 here.