The CDC’s new Guidance for fully-vaccinated people is worthy of review and consideration from a business perspective. After months of intense focus on limitations and restrictions, messaging that encourages people to take advantage of new freedoms will be a breath of fresh air!
A Message on COVID-19 from WorkSTEPS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ben Hoffman
Well, that didn’t take long! In last week's brief, I said we were changing to a monthly cadence of communication but would be back as needed to address emerging issues. The CDC’s new Guidance for fully-vaccinated people is worthy of review and consideration from a business perspective.
The “Key Points” summary presented by the CDC needs no translation:
This is the first set of public health recommendations for fully-vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully-vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen ).
The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings. For related information for healthcare settings, visit Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination.
Fully-vaccinated people can:
For now, fully-vaccinated people should continue to:
The new guidance may stimulate thinking about policy changes.
One policy change that seems straight-forward: If an entire group of essential workers has been vaccinated, the new guidance suggests they can begin to gather and interact in a more normal fashion.
Other changes are more challenging, such as: returning fully-vaccinated employees back to work (vs. work-from-home); enabling fully-vaccinated employees to meet indoors without masks or distancing; or approving travel for fully-vaccinated employees. Ideas such as these should be considered on a case-by-case basis, in full compliance with the new guidance, and in context of the reality that vaccines are not available to all who want them. Questions like these should come to mind:
It's likely that we’re just two or three months away from full vaccine availability. It may make better sense to simply keep existing prevention policies in place and avoid unnecessary conflicts.
As communications from the CDC go, the new Guidance is pretty straight-forward. That said, it is worth amplifying the guidance, including and especially the liberating aspects of it. People have been told for over a year now that they need to keep their distance, wear masks, and avoid contact with friends and relatives who are at risk for serious illness. Now it’s possible to visit fully-vaccinated parents and friends, to have dinner, converse without masks, and even hug. Such new freedoms can do a world of good for the mental wellbeing of your employees and their families.
After months of intense focus on limitations and restrictions, messaging that encourages people to take advantage of new freedoms will be a breath of fresh air!
I have never been a fan of the doom-and-gloom prophecies of those who warned early on that large percentages of the population might not get vaccinated. Those cold and gloomy forecasts ignored the fundamental desire people have for sunshine. The effectiveness of the vaccines, and the freedoms they are enabling represents a long-sought ray of sunshine. People who have been under clouds of fear or doubt about vaccines are now seeing others enjoy the warmth of interaction made possible by vaccination. Not everyone will change their mind, but many will.
So, from a communications standpoint now is the time to: A) Educate employees about the new guidance (as noted above); B) Remind employees of their current or soon-coming eligibility based on age, essential worker status or health risk); and C) Reinforce information about vaccine safety and efficacy.
A Trusted Voice
We have worked with a few clients now to develop video messages related to vaccinations. The videos enable companies without a Chief Medical Officer to essentially borrow the impact of my trusted M.D. credentials to provide information, guidance, and encouragement in language employees can understand. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how we can create messaging specifically for your employees.