Leading employers across the UK including Asda, IKEA and Santander come together to encourage their staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible.

Leading businesses, employers and industry bodies across the UK have come together to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme and encourage their staff to get a jab when eligible.

So far, 9 of the UK’s biggest national employers have pledged their support in promoting positive vaccination messages and encouraging their 240,000 employees to get the vaccine – including during working hours – to ensure workplaces are safe and staff can play their part in the UK’s biggest ever vaccination programme.

IKEA, Asda, Slimming World, Metro Bank, Procter & Gamble UK, Santander, Nationwide, Severn Trent and Merlin Entertainments are among the many businesses that have maintained extensive safety measures to protect staff throughout the pandemic. Now, to help encourage and maintain high vaccine uptake among their employees, they have pledged to promote positive safety messages and signpost staff to NHS-verified advice on vaccines.

Industry bodies, such as the British Beer and Pub Association and Builders Merchants Federation – whose members supply the UK’s vital construction industry – have also thrown their weight behind the coalition in a bid to encourage their partners to get involved, totalling over a million people.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

Our vaccination programme has so far saved thousands of lives, protecting our loved ones and bringing down infection rates to a point where we can see normality on the horizon.

It’s fantastic that employers are prioritising the safety of their staff and doing all they can to encourage people to get vaccinated.

I urge everyone to get their vaccines when they get the call so we can beat this pandemic together.

With more than 54 million vaccines administered so far, people aged 38 and over are now eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Organisations have pledged to be as flexible as possible when it comes to staff getting the vaccine. Many companies, including IKEA, have also committed to giving paid time off work for employees, in addition to providing sick pay as standard for the minority who experience minor side effects like fever or a headache.

Employers will also use resources from the new national government campaign to run an internal awareness campaign consisting of key messages, vaccine fact sheets, informative question and answer videos, posters and many more resources to ensure their employees get access to reliable and accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The government is calling on all UK organisations to join the campaign by introducing similar internal awareness campaigns to promote the benefits of vaccination.

Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

Vaccines save lives, they protect you and your loved ones from this terrible virus and they are the best way out of this pandemic.

Thank you to all of the organisations which have joined this incredibly important campaign to promote vaccine uptake.

I call on every business in the UK, no matter how big or small, to join the national charge and help your employees to access life-saving jabs when they are eligible.

Faisal Tuddy, Superintendent Pharmacist at Asda, said:

We have been extremely proud to play our part in the vaccine roll-out by hosting NHS vaccination centres in 3 of our stores. Asda was the first supermarket to offer this service and so far our pharmacy colleagues have now administered over 36,000 doses.

We are also encouraging our colleagues to get the jab as soon as they are eligible to, and are supporting them by giving them the time off to attend both appointments to receive the vaccine as well as the time they need to recover if they feel unwell.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital or to die from it. There is also growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.

The government has already hit its target of offering everybody in cohorts 1 to 9 – those aged 50 and over, the clinically vulnerable and health and social care workers – a first dose of the vaccine by 15 April and is on track to offer a jab to all adults in the UK by the end of July.