World Immunisation Week is observed every year by the World Health Organization, as part of its efforts to raise awareness and increase rates of immunisation around the world. This year, Zuellig Pharma marked the week from 24 to 30 April 2021 with a series of events to engage employees on the topic of immunisation. This included a company-wide survey to understand if employees had concerns about vaccination and what these concerns stem from. The survey was conducted by TAGR Research Consultants and Dynata, drawing responses from 8,793 employees across 16 markets in Asia.

A significant finding of the survey was a shift in attitudes towards vaccination with COVID-19. While take-up rate for regular vaccines was lower prior to the pandemic, more than two-thirds of employees indicated that they planned to go ahead with the COVID-19 vaccination once it was available to them. The primary motivation for getting vaccinated was the desire to protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting COVID-19. Strong moral obligation also appeared to be a driver, with almost half of employees stating that they would take the vaccine simply because it was the right thing to do.

Concern about the risks and side effects of the vaccine was prevalent among the minority who showed undecidedness or unwillingness to be vaccinated. However, 60 per cent of these respondents indicated that they would change their minds if given the opportunity to check clinical trial evidence on the side effects and the effectiveness of the vaccines. Healthcare professionals were the most trusted sources of information on the vaccine, followed by friends and family and Zuellig Pharma. This shows that as an employer we can play a key role in making sure our teams are sufficiently informed while making a vaccination decision.

Fears of counterfeit vaccines are also a key concern for more than one fifth of the employees who expressed hesitancy towards vaccination. This shows the importance of traceability solutions such as eZTracker, a blockchain based application that determines if a product is legitimate and authorised to be distributed in a particular location and eZVax, an end to end vaccine management solution that enables governments and private clients to manage all aspects of vaccine distribution and administration.

Results and behaviors varied greatly across these 16 markets, showing a need to adopt customised approaches and conversations to build confidence in vaccination.

Zuellig Pharma will use the survey findings in the coming months to empower employees to make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. Finding out the root causes behind motivations and fears for vaccine attitudes has helped the company to personalise its approach towards safeguarding employees through vaccination.

During World Immunisation Week, Zuellig Pharma held an internal campaign around why “Immunisation Matters to Me”. An internal launch event was attended by over 1,700 Zuellig Pharma employees across the region, where John Graham, CEO Zuellig Pharma and Carol Xu, EVP Chief People Officer Zuellig Pharma shared opening remarks related to the survey findings. Carl Geraghty, Managing Director of TAGR Research Consultants, also touched on key vaccine hesitancy factors and what factors would contribute to employees feeling comfortable taking the vaccine. Dr. Puchong Padungsutt, Regional Medical Director ZP Therapeutics addressed these concerns by sharing insights on the various types of COVID-19 vaccines available, their manufacturing process and what it means for those taking the vaccine.

Zuellig Pharma employees also participated in an internal virtual Amazing Race that included a series of activities to help them reflect on the importance to protect our loved ones by having evidence-based conversations and developing a considered perspective of vaccines based on science and facts. Our colleagues engaged actively in discussions with each other around immunisation. Additionally, more than 200 colleagues took to our internal social media platform Yammer to share their support for the importance of vaccinations in guarding those we love.

As more countries in Asia roll out mass vaccination programmes to curb the spread of the virus, ensuring that our employees are protected is crucial in our quest to continue making healthcare accessible to the communities we serve amid the pandemic.