Minnesota’s Department of Health recently reached out to us to help make manufacturers aware that the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all manufacturing employees throughout the state.
This outreach is not insignificant. Our 2020 State of Manufacturing® survey interviews revealed how many manufacturers felt particularly vulnerable to the unpredictable ways COVID affected their operations, either as a result of the disease itself or from the government’s sometimes meandering response to it. First there was the whole “essential services” rigamarole, then the periodic state closures. Employees might distrust how employers enforced social distancing (too rigorous or not rigorous enough). Do they need masks at all times? Do they need them at all? Should we take employees’ temperatures before entering the plant? Or, are temperatures a false indicator of COVID? How do we responsibly balance the influx and outflow of potentially-exposed employees’ need to self-quarantine? Or how about employees who miss shifts to accommodate stay-at-home education or to care for infected family members? Or how about trying to recruit employees when they can make more money staying at home on government benefits. (But I digress!)
Now that manufacturers are starting to see more control over what they can accomplish, DEED and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have been genuinely helpful with some quick and easily applicable resources. Manufacturers will be smart to consider them.
The first is to help employees use the state’s Vaccine Connector to help Minnesotans find out when, where, and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Employees can use the Vaccine Connector to receive updates on when they are eligible to receive a vaccine and where they can schedule an appointment to obtain it through a pharmacy, local public health, or health care provider. They can also search for local vaccine providers in their area using the Vaccine Locator map.
State officials want employees to know that they will need to show proof of employment at their vaccine appointment, including an employee badge, pay stub, or letter from their employer. Clinics will then know they are eligible for vaccination. If employees forget the documentation, the vaccination site should work with them to determine what is needed to get vaccinated.
DEED summarizes with the following checklist:
- Encourage all employees to sign up for the Vaccine Connector
- Provide information about how the vaccine works and how employees can get vaccinated
- Help employees with any questions or confusion they may have
- Keep wearing masks and social distancing in the workplace.
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