I didn’t need a mandate from President Joe Biden to require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at MediaSource, my small communications and public relations agency.
A month before the president announced his vaccine requirements, I informed my team that they needed to be vaccinated or request an exception, which we would consider for religious or medical reasons.
Some may see this decision as a controversial move. I simply see it as the responsible one.
As a company with a core client base of healthcare organizations, including hospitals across the country, mandating vaccination was a no-brainer. Although MediaSource doesn’t employ medical personnel, my creative team is regularly on location at hospitals shooting videos with doctors and patients, while my public relations team often assists with media escorts at healthcare facilities.
To me, the vaccine mandate decision was made to keep my team and my clients’ teams safe. While no vaccine provides 100% immunity from COVID-19, studies show that getting vaccinated helps keep you from getting seriously ill and reduces transmission if you are infected.
As a public relations professional, I often help others communicate their message. Stepping up as a business voice to promote vaccination is a message I felt I needed to communicate. I know everyone doesn’t feel the same way, and I respect that. But I hope that business owners can look at the big picture and the greater good and consider requiring their teams to get vaccinated.
When I asked my team in mid-August to get vaccinated against COVID-19, most had already received their shots. A month later, 95% of my team of 20 is vaccinated. Those who are not vaccinated due to religious or medical reasons are permitted to do their work remotely in order to keep other team members and clients safe.
After 18 months of a pandemic, businesses should consider the long-term effects of not requiring vaccination. Do we really have time to waste? The longer the virus spreads, the greater the chances it will evolve in new and more dangerous ways that may render existing vaccines ineffective.
I urge other communications and public relations leaders to follow my lead and the sentiment of Biden’s recent vaccine mandate order. Request that your staff be vaccinated against COVID-19 even if your company, like mine, is smaller than the 100-employee requirement. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the way we can keep others safe and work toward ending this pandemic.