Vaccine Resource Hub

While the choice to get vaccinated is ultimately up to individuals, this resource hub’s goal is to equip businesses to play their part to get Canada to herd immunity.

As employers and providers of goods and services to the general public, businesses have a critical role to play in getting Canadians vaccinated, which will ultimately create the conditions for the relaxation of public health restrictions currently in place.

Given the overwhelming volume of information available on vaccines, this resource hub provides companies of all sizes with a single focal point for the information they need to know as employers and the resources they can use to reassure and encourage their employees to get vaccinated.

Knowing the facts about vaccines is critical, which is not always easy given the breadth of resources out there. Vaccines have been robustly tested in clinical trials around the world to confirm their safety and efficacy. There are a number of resources that can provide businesses the facts on vaccines, which will ultimately equip owners and operators to engage their employees.

COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada is the Government of Canada’s primary resource page for up-to-date information about the vaccines authorized in Canada.

Vaccine development and approval in Canada is a resource that explains the rigorous scientific process involved in developing a new vaccine and conducting clinical trials as well as the process Health Canada follows to review and approve vaccines. There is also a video available on vaccine development and approval.

Below are Health Canada’s resources for each authorized vaccine, including how the vaccine works, how it is administered, possible side effects and vaccine safety after authorization:

Some provincial jurisdictions are supporting the ability of companies to act as vaccine distribution hubs for the general public and their employees. Other jurisdictions are providing multiple avenues for the general population, particularly those in essential sectors — such as food processing and distribution or construction — to receive a vaccination before the general public.

Vaccines and treatments for COVID-19: Vaccine rollout describes the vaccine deliveries to provinces and where vaccines have been distributed to date.

Each province or territory has a detailed vaccine rollout plan and booking system:

Vaccines are very safe, but as with all medicines, there is the potential for side effects after administration. Possible side effects for COVID-19 vaccines are very minor and may include redness, soreness or swelling on the arm that received the shot, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills and mild fever.

Read more about vaccine safety and possible side effects.

There are active ways employers can help their workforce get vaccinated since it is ultimately the collection of individual and company-level decisions that make a difference. Depending on your company’s financial capacity, there are several practical things your company can do to help your employees get vaccinated:

  • Offer paid time off to any employee to get vaccinated. Potentially as much as four to six hours depending where vaccine clinics are located.
  • Provide a transportation voucher (i.e. Uber/Lyft gift card, bus pass) to help cover your employees’ transportation costs to and from a vaccine site.
  • Reimburse the employees’ childcare expenses during their vaccine appointments up to a certain amount.
  • Offer internet access or language support services to help employees schedule their appointment when it becomes available.
  • Provide information to your employees on the local public health or provincial vaccine timelines via email or printouts on a staff board in a common area.
  • Offer paid leave of one to two days if needed after vaccination.

Companies should also start thinking about how to appropriately collect vaccine KPIs amongst their workforce while respecting the privacy of their employees. One option could be undertaking voluntary surveys to understand whether their workforce has received one or two doses of the vaccine, if they intend to receive the vaccine or if they prefer to not disclose.

It is also critical to manage expectations for those who get vaccinated with their first or second dose. You should ensure your employees can expect public health guidance to continue to focus on handwashing, masks and physical distancing. This will help manage expectations and reduce any issues with workplace tension between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.

Whether by staff meetings, emails or casual 1:1 conversations, employers have countless touchpoints every day to speak with their employees about vaccines. The choice to get vaccinated is ultimately with the individual, but the conversations you have will affect not only your employees but also the information they share with their friends and family about vaccines.

These are the top tips for talking to your employees, which have been adapted from the Health Action Alliance:

  • Listening Is Key: You need to have a conversation with your staff rather than a debate. Their decision to get vaccinated is theirs to make, which should always be acknowledged. Focus on being inviting and respectful and encourage them to look at information from respected sources.
  • Lead with Empathy: It is important to acknowledge people’s concerns given it has been a difficult time for Canadians during the pandemic. It is okay for people — even you — to have questions about vaccines given the rate at which news changes and the wide number of voices in media and social media. Do not be condescending. Instead, support your staff taking time off for their vaccination or helping their family members.
  • Facts about Safety Matter: Speak in plain language with people. Provide facts from reputable sources but don’t make up what you don’t know or use information from unreputable sources, particularly on social media. You also cannot provide medical advice to people’s unique health circumstances.
  • Be Authentic: Share why you have decided to get vaccinated and why it is important for you and your family.

To download a one-page (available in English, French, Punjab, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese) Talking to Your Employees about Vaccines Guide, click here.