Philippine employers take steps to provide access to COVID-19 vaccine for employees: Willis Towers Watson survey

Amidst the news on the development and availability of new coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, an increasing number of organizations in the Philippines have sought information on how companies plan to manage vaccinations for their workforce. A recent survey found that 65 percent have already arranged, or are in the process of arranging, the purchase of vaccines on their employees’ behalf.

The survey was conducted jointly by global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson and People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP) on 250 human resources practitioners. Among the employers who had not started the process, 58 percent are considering doing so and 42 percent of companies have no plans of purchasing the vaccines.

In addition, 60 percent of the respondents have also indicated that they are working on the procurement of vaccines for the dependents of their employees. Among those who had not started the process yet, 52 percent are considering to procure the vaccines for their dependents and 48 percent are not.

Philippine flag (©Sam Balye)

Philippine flag (©Sam Balye)

When procuring or facilitating the purchase of the vaccine for employees’ dependents, over half of the respondents have indicated that these would include spouse, parents of single employees and children, all of whom are residing with their employees. Over 40 percent plan to include the parents of married employees, siblings of single employees, and anyone residing within the household of their employees. 

When considering the procurement of vaccines for their employees, 68 percent of the companies said they would fully pay for these vaccines. One in 10 indicated that they would subsidize the cost but not shoulder a 100 percent payment of it.

A small proportion of 7 percent said that the company’s financial support would be limited to a segment of their employees’ population and among these, half said they would pay for the vaccines for permanent employees only. As for dependents or household members, 71 percent of companies would pass on the full cost to their employees. 

For companies that are considering procurement, 70 percent of employers have indicated that they are running a survey to determine the number of employees who are interested in being vaccinated. Among those not conducting the survey, 30 percent have indicated that they have just not gotten around to doing so, 16 percent are waiting to find out what their peers are doing and 15 percent prefer to run the survey once the order of their vaccine is confirmed.

When it comes to vaccine administration, 37 percent of companies are considering a third-party administrator other than their HMO or onsite clinic, 29 percent have not thought about administration yet, 19 percent will work with their HMOs for vaccine administration and 15 percent with their onsite clinic provider.

““Pandemic fatigue is real and we all feel it,” Willis Towers Watson Philippines health and benefits leader Susan La Chica stated. “Now, more than ever, companies need to focus on the health and wellbeing of their employees. In a study we conducted last year, 93 percent of employers think that the pandemic will have a negative impact on employee wellbeing.”

“In a more recent survey, two thirds of the respondents said that their companies’ response to the current pandemic or preparation for a future pandemic impacts their wellbeing approach and activities,” La Chica continued. “By providing timely communication, benefits and access, employers can assist employees in getting vaccinated. This is an important role that employers can play in helping to protect their employees and limit the spread of COVID-19.”

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