I haven’t seen my mother since last summer. I haven’t seen my neighbors in weeks. I’m reasonably certain I’ve watched enough Netflix to quit my job and become a decent movie producer.
It’s hard to believe this has been life as we know it.
There’s not a person or business among us who has not been affected by COVID-19, either personally or professionally. As hard as it has been, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
The pandemic numbers remain staggering. The physical health, mental health, economic and social damage is too widespread to measure. Almost half a million Americans have died because of COVID-19. For perspective, that’s Nationals Stadium here in D.C. filled to capacity 12 times over.
Still, I’m encouraged.
My mother received her second vaccination on the day I wrote this column. By the time you are reading this, I too, will be fully vaccinated.
There is light, finally, at the end of what has been a very dark and lonely tunnel. There is still a long way to go, but vaccines are here and that is where our focus should be.
The two vaccines authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19 are reporting efficacy rates of over 90%. Three more clinical trials are progressing. The numbers are strong and promising, and I believe the employer community has a role to play in getting workers back into our offices, children back into schools, and living back into life.
My message this month is not a matter of whether you can or should require your employees to get vaccinated but, rather, of supporting those who do decide to get vaccinated in their efforts to do so. Certainly, there will be refusals—people have their reasons. As our chief legal officer Scott Sinder outlined last month, there are rules and considerations that need to be examined with your legal counsel as we move forward.
But we have a responsibility as employers to be as open and transparent as possible and to fight uncertainty and disinformation with reliable sources like the CDC. We as leaders have an opportunity to generate some much-needed momentum in the overall goal of reaching the other side of this pandemic as quickly as possible.
People want to feel safe and resume life. Let’s do all we can in supporting their efforts to build a healthier, more resilient workforce.