A number of employers have joined forces in a further government-backed push to ensure as many people as possible receive the Covid vaccine.
Amazon, Molson Coors, Sky and Three UK are the latest companies to join the list of employers publicly committing to encourage vaccinations among staff.
The announcement follows a push in May to get a million staff vaccinated, backed by organisations such as IKEA, Asda, Metro Bank and Merlin Entertainments.
Vaccinations and testing
As part of the commitment, the employers pledge to promote positive vaccination messages and offer employees flexibility in terms of shifts and hours so they can attend vaccine appointments.
They have also promised to provide sick pay for employees who need to take time off for minor side effects such as fever or a headache.
Professional networking site LinkedIn has committed to offer free advertising to target CEOs and directors to support vaccination promotion, signposting them to the government’s employer toolkit.
Amazon has set up a laboratory in Manchester where employees can take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests if they wish. PCR tests are more reliable than lateral flow tests, which are currently encouraged twice-weekly for those attending school or a workplace.
It has also launched variant analysis at its lab so it can support public health authorities to understand the virus.
According to the latest government statistics, almost 46 million adults have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and almost 35 million have had both – almost two-thirds of the population.
Vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government was “extremely grateful” to the employers that had supported the vaccination programme so far.
“Our best chance of living with this virus safely is by working together, with everyone playing their part and getting both doses of their vaccine,” he said.
John Boumphrey, Amazon’s UK country manager, said: “Amazon employees receive paid time off to get vaccinated so they can continue to keep themselves, their colleagues and their communities safe.
“Additionally, working closely with local health authorities, we have also hosted vaccination clinics at several of our sites across the country.”
Adam Firby, HR director at Molson Coors, added: “Since the very start of this pandemic we’ve put the health and wellbeing of our employees first. We continue to strongly encourage our people to get both jabs when invited to do so and to support people in the right way.
“We’ve been providing trusted information on vaccines through our internal communications, ensuring people have the flexibility to attend vaccine appointments and continuing to pay everyone 100% of their salary – whether they need a day or so to recover from a first jab or need to isolate because they’ve come into close contact with someone with Covid.”
Other employers supporting the vaccine drive include Nationwide, Santander, Severn Trent and Slimming World.