On September 23, MCC hosted an Asked & Answered webinar event featuring expert guest Cynthia Carr, epidemiologist and founder, EPI Research Inc :
Here are some key take-aways from that event to help employers understand key COVID-19 issues and the importance of listening to and engaging with employees who have vaccine concerns:
Take-away #1: Speed matters a great deal when it comes to vaccine administration — the quicker the better. That’s because the longer we go unprotected against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the greater the chance the virus has to to mutate and change from one host to the next. According to Carr, anyone on the fence about the vaccine and hanging back to see how things go with widespread immunization should consider the vaccine safe and effective given the number of vaccines already administered versus the number of adverse events as well as the clear protective benefits.
Take-away #2: Clear workplace communication is essential when it comes to this virus, and that involves providing employees with opportunities to ask questions, access credible resources, and make informed decisions. “It’s not always about people thinking they know better. It’s often about individuals feeling stressed and afraid, and unheard. If we can give people an opportunity to discuss openly and ask questions, and if we’re prepared to work with them on a case-by-case basis, even if this does not mean changing policy, but being better at communicating, it can often produce the results we need for everyone to stay safe and feel safe.”
Take-away #3: Critical vaccination threshold (Vc) refers to the level of vaccination we need in order to establish sufficient immunity to prevent virus spread (while we acknowledge that the body’s response to having had infection also contributes to overall immunity, Carr states, it is never a recommended approach due to risk of Covid-19). “We know people have questioned the milestones, because we’ve achieved previously set .). “We know people have questioned the milestones, because we’ve achieved previously set thresholds, but that may be only in certain regions or in specific age groups. Also, the reality is that a variant’s characteristics, such as Delta’s spike proteins, can change the threshold, or it can be influenced by information we may not even know yet. Unfortunately, the Vc for Delta is higher than previous strains which changes the game.”
Take-away #4: It’s time for adults to step up and protect children, and we should think of it like forming a cocoon around them. The Delta variant is showing worse outcomes in children than previous variants, and children have worked hard to support societal health. They’ve been wearing masks, washing their hands, sitting 2 metres apart in schools, and giving up many elements of normalcy such as organized sports, birthday parties, sleepovers, etc, to help protect us all. “As we wait for ages 5 to 11 to be eligible for immunization, which could happen in Canada as early as the end of October 2021, we need to continue encouraging non-vaccinated adults to choose vaccination and to be firmly committed to practicing the fundamentals.”
Very special thanks to our event sponsors: