As the US rolls out the COVID-19 vaccine, a survey of US workers finds that 1 in 5 employees are undecided about whether to take it.
The Conference Board survey reveals that employee rank accounts for much of this hesitation: lower-level workers are less willing to receive the vaccine than senior leadership. Moreover, the nationwide survey found that nearly half of companies have yet to communicate a policy on getting the vaccine. And of those organizations that have, most are encouraging workers to receive the vaccine but not mandating it as a condition of returning to the office.
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“Nearly a year into the pandemic, workers are still faced with an abundance of uncertainty. Many workers—especially lower-ranking staff and women—feel unsure about the vaccine and have discomfort returning to the workplace,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President, Human Capital at The Conference Board. “These findings reinforce the need for companies to limit as much uncertainty as possible by communicating what they know and what their expectations are about returning to the workplace, as well as guidelines about the vaccine to employees.”
Conducted between January 13–26, the online survey covered two key topics: policies pertaining to the vaccine and reopening the workplace. More than 2,200 US workers participated, representing a cross-section of people across industries. It is a follow-up to similar surveys conducted in September and again in October.
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Key findings include:
One-fifth of US workers—19 percent—are undecided about whether to get the vaccine.
1. Three-quarters plan to take an FDA-approved vaccine when available.
2. Only 6 percent do not plan to get the vaccine.
Indecision over taking the vaccine increases as worker rank decreases.
1. Individual contributors: Only 67 percent of these lower-ranking workers plan to take the vaccine.
2. CEOs: 85 percent of those at the top, however, plan to take it.
“Indecision about the vaccine may be driven by a distrust of the healthcare system, government agencies, or the efficacy of the vaccine itself. In many states, the vaccination registration process can be complicated,” said Amy Lui Abel, PhD, Vice President, Human Capital Research at The Conference Board. “Many companies, on the other hand, have the trust of their staff; they may consider sharing facts and dispelling myths about the vaccine, or enabling government plans to immunize their workers.”
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