Recent COVID-19 Vaccine Developments Highlight Why Firms Must Ensure Robust Occupational Health Capabilities
After nine months of waiting, quarantines and lockdowns, citizens around the world have received some optimistic news. There are now four promising COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, three of which have already shown efficacies over 90% during phase-three trials. The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine demonstrated a 95% effectiveness against COVID-19 during primary efficacy analysis. Moderna's vaccine showed similar efficacy, and the Sputnik vaccine showed efficacies of up to 92% according to the Nature Research Journal. Also, in the pipeline is the Oxford vaccine, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca. The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million, 40 million and 5 million of the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively, with a possible roll-out to millions of people over the holiday period.
The advent of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is a signal to firms to ensure they have robust vaccination management programmes in place, and EHS vendors to ensure they offer robust occupational health software capabilities to meet the needs of firms. Vaccination management has not always been a top priority area for firms save for those in very high-risk environments like waste management. But it is not business as usual this flu season, it has become an important topic even for firms operating in otherwise previously low-risk environments such as in offices. Creating and tracking immunisation campaigns, digitising, capturing and storing consent forms and worker medical history data is crucial to the success of any such campaign at a federal, state or local level. To complicate matters further, firms must track vaccine-specific data such as brand, name, description, dosage, administrator, reviewer, immunisation route, and any associated symptoms. To do this they will look to EHS software vendors to offer strong capabilities in occupational health case management, electronic medical record-keeping and medical surveillance management (See Verdantix EHS Software Benchmark: Industrial Hygiene And Occupational Health)
Fortunately, there is a good selection of heavy hitters in the OH software landscape. Witness Cority, which offers its Inventory Module for tracking vaccine inventory. The Inventory Module integrates with Cority's Immunization and Clinic Visit Modules, which tracks immunisation campaigns and provides a hub for occupational health practitioners and clinic professionals, respectively. UL, through its PureOHS platform, enables users to quickly digitise the vaccination management process with little to no IT involvement. Enablon offers an OH software solution for tracking employee medical visits, prescriptions, treatments, medications, drugs testing, and most relevantly, immunisation programs. The solution also centralises local doctors' and hospitals' contact lists. Enterprise Health offers a Mass Immunisation Module tailored to COVID-19 immunisation. The solution empowers users to manage vaccination campaigns with rules-based health surveillance panels, starting workflows based on job role, department, work location or other criteria established to identify critical populations. Additionally, the solution ensures the digitisation of all relevant documentation, including consent forms and reminders, sending out alerts where there is missing data. Firms must use this opportunity to reinforce their vaccine management and overall OH capabilities. Doing this will not only safeguard the health and safety of their workforce but also ensure they can avoid interruptions to business operations due to possible illness.