Businesses need to provide paid release to workers to access appointments and commence engagement with Translink now on transport plans for mass workplace vaccination drives
While Unite the union encourages broadest possible uptake of vaccine by public, it is vital that immunisation must remain a voluntary choice
Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer for workers in the health sector said that there was a need for employers to start planning now to ensure an efficient drive to secure maximum uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine by workers.
“Unite the union is encouraging its members to avail of the upcoming vaccine for Covid-19. As with other campaigns in health we would support the use of vaccines while also respecting our members individual rights, whether on medical grounds or personal reasons to opt out of getting the vaccine.
“While we encourage the broadest possible uptake of the vaccine, it is vital that it remains an individual choice. As with the flu vaccine Unite is opposed to any employer insisting that staff must have the Vaccine.
“We understand that the vaccine will be administered on a priority basis and that the process in place to cover health service workers is a priority. We would call on all employers to work proactively to facilitate the role out of the vaccine to the general public and in particular, their workforce, by ensuring the provision of paid release and time off for staff to avail of both the initial and second appointment for vaccines. Many employers stepped up to the mark regarding the flu Vaccine and we would call on them once again to meet the challenge.
“Where possible, Unite is encouraging employers to engage with Translink to plan ahead for the provision of coordinated transport of workers to allow them to travel to vaccination centres during working hours. There’s a huge benefit to businesses from maximising uptake – taking these steps will encourage the greatest possible protection of workers and our economy”, Mr McAdam said.