4 Tips for Navigating the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Waters

By Jeff Yoshimura

The White House’s COVID-19 Action Plan is underway and as OSHA's emergency regulation is in final review at the White House, now is the time to start preparing. From boosting acceptance of the vaccine to keeping employees in compliance, navigating these murky mandate waters is hard. So what can companies do to enforce the policy while also retaining employees and keeping operations running?

As engagement experts, Welltok has over a decade of experience executing campaigns to boost compliance with things like annual flu shots and medication adherence. Driving behavior change is hard, but it is also possible with a strategic approach—even for challenging asks like getting a new vaccine.

Here are 4 tips our experts recommend using to boost COVID-19 vaccine acceptance ahead of mandate deadlines.

1. Use data to create accurate target lists of vaccine-hesitant individuals so you can focus your outreach on them. A lot of people have already gotten the shot; you don’t need to be inundating them with additional asks to get the vaccine. Optimize your resources by using data and predictive analytics to identify, with up to 90% accuracy, who is likely to be hesitant, as well as receptive to your messages and likely to schedule a vaccine appointment as a result of your outreach.

2. Incorporate facts and barrier-breaking messages into campaigns. Vaccine hesitant individuals want facts before deciding to get a shot, particularly a new one like the COVID-19 vaccine. They also want to receive information from a trusted source, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their primary care provider. Include easy-to-understand facts, and links for more information, into your outreach.

Barrier-breaking messages can also make a big difference in tipping the scales. For example, if you’re conducting an automated voice (IVR) call campaign and the person initially says “no” to getting the shot, add a follow-up nudge, “The COVID-19 vaccines can protect you and those around you. Are you sure you don’t want to schedule an appointment today?”

3. Leverage multi-channel, multi-cycle communications to improve reach. There is so much noise out there, a single message about getting the vaccine is not going to cut it. Instead, boost reach of your messages by up to 95% by using multiple channels (email, text messages, direct mail and automated voice (IVR) calls) over a set period of time. Make sure to use consistent messages and calls to action across these channels too.

4. Consider offering incentives. Rewards made a lot of headlines earlier this year, with several states offering $1M lotteries for vaccine takers. The jury is out on how well they worked. At Welltok, we take a strategic approach to incentivizing actions by recommending our clients incorporate incentives into your COVID-19 vaccine campaigns by aligning rewards to the action you’re seeking. For example, our clients typically offer a reward between $5-$25 for getting the annual flu shot.

In addition to promoting vaccine acceptance, Welltok understands what a significant ask this is on employers from a compliance perspective. To help, Welltok has a vaccine testing and compliance solution that automates employee reminders and capture test results, exemption requests and proof of vaccination with AI validation of uploaded records. Welltok Verify provides a simple way to keep employees healthy and safe.

Navigating the vaccine mandate waters is hard, but not impossible. Boosting vaccine acceptance combined with our Verify solution will alleviate the stress of maxed out HR teams. Ready to navigate the vaccine mandate waters together? Let’s talk.

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