Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, things might not be as easy as some people think. More than 70 percent of the population must first be vaccinated before we achieve the herd immunity that experts believe will be the point where things can return to normalcy. Until more than 70 percent of the population is vaccinated, the pandemic will continue to instill fear in the people and government on a potential scarcity of hospital beds and depletion of revenues due to COVID treatment.
A recent survey by Kabbage, an online financial technology firm offering funding to small businesses on more than 500 small businesses in the US, indicated that 57 percent believe that their enterprises are fully open. The interviewed business owners also noted that federal shutdowns' ease of restrictions had shifted the revenue expectations across small businesses. The interviewed entities also indicated that there is a rise in revenue growth expectations.
The connection between the small businesses and vaccine rollout is simple; they mutually benefit each other. Once the vaccines are availed for all employees, employers will no longer have to worry about dealing with reduced staff or positive coronavirus cases among their employees and how their operations will be adversely affected. On the other hand, small business owners benefit the vaccination by driving vaccine adoption and trust. In a survey by NatureMedicine, most employees said they would take a vaccine recommended by their employer. While the vaccination is beneficial to the person taking it at an individual level, it also directly benefits small business owners. Once the herd immunity is reached by vaccinating between 70 and 85% of the population, the performance venues shut down will once again reopen. Trips to the local coffee shop will resume, tourism will come back, and consumer spending will again thrive.
The pandemic’s impact is long-lasting, and consumer spending will take some time before we see the pre-pandemic trends. In fact, other changes might be permanent. However, the vaccination campaigns will be critical to a return in consumption of products and services that small businesses depend on for their survival. With the supply of vaccines increasing across the US, business owners must mandate, recommend or propose the right vaccine for their employees to take. Each of the three approaches will assist businesses to return to work faster.
While small businesses have a role to play, they must join forces with the government on a global scale to ensure consistent, reliable, and correct messaging of the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. Doing so requires small businesses to be creative and transparently share information about COVID-19 vaccines that people will trust. By building confidence and trust among the employees, organizations raise awareness about the safety and importance of vaccines in ending the pandemic and reducing severe illnesses. It also shows the importance of vaccination in reopening businesses, returning operations, and ending the pandemic.
Small businesses must therefore invest in vaccination campaigns by prioritizing access to vaccines. The drive must address the most affected and the highly vulnerable groups in the organization.