Since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world on its axis almost a year ago it’s had an unprecedented effect on world economies, medicine, industry and our personal and professional lives.
The family of coronaviruses has been around and well-known to scientists for decades. Coronaviruses have been associated with development of the common cold and as well as the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) epidemics in Asia. Therefore, scientists were able to act quickly once the virus and its genetic makeup were identified and create several vaccines currently being administered around the world, with more vaccines in the pipeline.
“Ford has been a leader in COVID mitigation efforts since the pandemic began and one of the first manufacturers to pivot toward making personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Dr. Francesca Litow, corporate medical director, Ford Global Health Services. “We know our workforce has many questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and we will provide employees with timely, evidence-based information so they can make informed decisions for themselves and their families
The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority. Ford is working with government officials around the world to help ensure our employees have access to vaccines when they are available. If we have the opportunity to administer the vaccine in the future, we plan to make it available to employees on a voluntary basis. Our initial emphasis will be on essential workers at our manufacturing plants, warehouses, workplace-dependent employees and employees who are required to travel. We will then use data-driven insights about higher risk areas and other factors to inform further prioritization if needed.
Below are answers to some of your most frequently asked questions. For more Q&As, click here
1. Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is regarded as an important tool to help reduce the risk of infection. The combination of getting vaccinated and strict adherence to Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. We encourage our workforce to learn more about the vaccine and to take it when they become eligible to receive it.
2. How soon can I be vaccinated?
In the U.S., each state has a phased approach to vaccinations. Each person will become eligible to receive a vaccination according to his/her age, health risks and other criteria as established by U.S. states and municipalities. In non-U.S. countries a similar phased approach is being used, so each person should follow his or her country’s prioritization process.
3. Can I contract COVID-19 from a vaccine?
As the vaccination does not contain live virus, you cannot contract the COVID-19 virus from the vaccine.
4. Do I have to receive a vaccine to work in a Ford facility?
No. You don’t need to receive a vaccine to work in a Ford facility.
5. How will the company administer the vaccines?
In countries where applicable, we are evaluating potential partnerships for a vaccination program as it becomes available, following state and country guidelines.
6. How will vaccines be distributed once they become available?
In the United States, the CDC made its recommendations. Following that, states developed individual plans to vaccinate residents in different phases. Other countries are developing similar plans. Voluntary vaccinations have already begun in many areas, often starting with people in critical industries such as healthcare workers and expanding to high-risk individuals such as the elderly. Ford expects our employees will have access to vaccines once they become widely available. Distribution plans may vary depending on the country and locality.
7. If I’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask at work?
Yes. Even with COVID-19 vaccinations underway worldwide, it is important that everyone continue to practice preventative measures following Ford protocols if you are on a Ford facility, properly wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus.
8. Would you recommend that employees with a positive COVID-19 antibody test get the vaccine?
Yes. The CDC recommends that due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, that individuals who have recovered from the virus get vaccinated. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
9. Will Ford pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Our health insurance would cover admin costs associated with vaccination (in the U.S. the vaccine itself is free).
10. Can agency staff and retirees get vaccinated?
Agency personnel and retirees should work with their health care providers to receive the vaccine.
11. Do I have to work with an individual who doesn’t want to be vaccinated?
We are encouraging all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but the vaccine will not be required to work.
12. How are we supporting vaccine distribution/efforts globally?
Ford is working with government officials around the world to help ensure our employees have access to vaccines when they are available, according to individual country and state vaccination plans.
13. What percentage of the Ford workforce must be vaccinated before we “go back to normal?
Even with COVID-19 vaccinations underway worldwide, it is important that everyone continue to practice preventative measures following Ford protocols if you are on a Ford facility, properly wearing masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the virus.
14. Should I also get a flu shot? Does the timing of when I get a flu shot matter? Will the two conflict in any way?
Flu shots are strongly recommended as in past years. It is also strongly recommended that everyone get a flu shot as soon as possible to lower the risk of contracting the flu, since flu symptoms could be confused with COVID-19 symptoms. At the present time, the CDC has recommended that the COVID-19 vaccine not be administered on the same day as other vaccinations.
15. Did Ford purchase special freezers to store the vaccine?
Yes. We ordered a dozen freezers to make a COVID-19 vaccine available to our employees on a voluntary basis when it becomes available to us.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html or https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/COVID-19-vaccines. or the latest information about the virus, go to CDC.gov/Coronavirus or https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#ta9_Playbook_NME.pdf