Who’d have thought putting the health and safety of your people and the public first would create such a fuss!
During an interview with City AM, I discussed my intention to spend an estimated £800,000 on having my 400-strong workforce vaccinated against Covid – once the vaccinations become available to buy privately.
Some responded with claims that such an initiative is coercive and discriminatory.
The mention of a ‘no job, no jab policy’ meant my words were quickly picked up by the likes of The Sun, Evening Standard, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Scotsman and even Construction News – as well as prompting a debate on talkRadio, among others.
I want to stress that while I am in talks with my lawyers about making the vaccine mandatory for all new hires, I would not force anyone to have a jab who is already on the books and no-one would lose their job over it.
Knowing my people as I do, I believe the great majority would be both eager and grateful to have the chance of getting an early shot, at no cost to themselves.
I know the well-rehearsed arguments of the anti-vaxxers and the shocking statements of the persistent band of Covid deniers, partly spread by the storm of misinformation from across the Atlantic.
Never mind all that nonsense. The reality is that this country is fast closing in on 100,000 Covid deaths. This virus has also brought the economy to its knees and is affecting every part of our daily lives – whether it’s running a business, kids going to school, or an ability to visiting your nearest and dearest.
Those businesses still operating have long since introduced strict Covid-safe working procedures and many are already investing in lateral flow tests for their staff to ensure that anyone found to be contagious, ands who might not be showing symptoms, can quickly self-isolate and reduce the risk of infecting anyone else.
Having a jab at the request of your employer is just the next step up.
The truth is that this pandemic has gone on long enough and if I as a business owner can play any part in helping the government stamp out this awful virus, then I’ll do it so we can all get back to some type of normality.
This is not about coercion but persuasion and explaining to people why this is a logical and sensible step. This is about protecting everyone and restoring both our health and our economy.
I suspect those that would refuse a Covid vaccination may well have dodged tuberculosis, measles, mumps in the past thanks to jabs received earlier in their lives.
Pimlico Plumbers provides a critical service and has worked right through the pandemic. Our Covid-secure policies has inspired confidence when our engineers call at customers’ homes, but I know that proof of vaccination would inspire a great deal more.
There are many more enterprises out there that haven’t been so fortunate, having been stopped in their tracks by restrictions and lockdowns. We owe it to them and their employees to get the economy back on track as quickly as possible.
Extensive medical trials have found that the UK-approved vaccines are safe, but a low take-up threatens further coronavirus outbreaks and more lives being placed at risk. We also have to face the fact that we will all require annual vaccinations as the virus continues to mutate.
Some employment lawyers have already warned that attempts by employers to have their staff vaccinated could lead to claims of discrimination.
Unfortunately, the grim reaper doesn’t have such concerns.