OCBC Bank yesterday announced the rollout of a COVID-19 Vaccination Support Programme for about 10,000 of its employees in Singapore, including its subsidiaries Bank of Singapore, OCBC Securities, and OCBC Property Services.

According to a media release, the programme comprises two components - education and support. 

Educating employees about the COVID-19 vaccine

OCBC Bank has engaged medical experts to educate its employees about the COVID-19 vaccine, its side effects, its efficacy, its effectiveness against new virus variants and how vaccination will affect safe distancing regulations and lifestyles.

This helps to provide the channel for OCBC's employees to raise all the questions and concerns with a medical expert to make an informed decision on whether to be vaccinated or not.

The first education webinar, featuring Dr Leong Hoe Nam, a prominent Infectious Disease Specialist, was held on 15 January 2021. 

Strong interest among employees was observed on this topic, with the event being fully subscribed to within the first few hours of the announcement, leading to the doubling of the number of seats for the event.

The most commonly asked questions were if those with pre-existing medical conditions can take the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine, what to avoid after vaccination and if it is safe to take more than one set of vaccines from different manufacturers.

One employee, Catherine Choong, from OCBC's Investment Operations, said: "I am glad OCBC organised this webinar. My family and I have been debating whether we should take the vaccine. There has been fake news circulating on social media about the side effects of vaccine. Many of the myths were debunked by Dr Leong. After understanding how the vaccine works, I am now more confident of the decision to take."

A range of support measures available for employees who decide to take the vaccine

Once an employee has decided to take the vaccine, the employee will receive the following range of support measures.

  • A day off on the day of each vaccination
  • Private taxi reimbursement (to and from the vaccination clinics)
  • Additional two days of medical leave without the need to provide a medical certificate in case of side effects (this is on top of the current two days of medical leave staff can take a year without a medical certificate)
  • Reimbursement of medical consultation fees for side effects from the vaccination
  • Allowing the employee to work from home for one week after vaccination

Customised initiatives will also be rolled out for employees in the Bank’s other core markets as and when the Covid-19 vaccine is rolled out in these countries.

Jason Ho, OCBC Bank’s Head of Group Human Resources, said: “While the decision for taking a COVID-19 vaccination is very personal, we want to help our employees come to a decision based on sound medical advice. For those who want to go ahead with it, we will provide the necessary support to them because we understand the anxiety and stress that comes from having to make such a decision.

“By equipping our colleagues with more information on the vaccination, and providing additional support to them, we empower them to make the best decision for themselves. We will continue to roll out targeted and personalised initiatives to support our people so that they remain resilient and more importantly, safe and healthy."

“Throughout this pandemic, the welfare and resilience of our workforce has been at the forefront of our management team’s minds, given the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in. We have always believed in taking care of our people in good times, and especially in bad times like this,” Ho added.

The COVID-19 Vaccination Support Programme is an extension of the Bank’s COVID-19 Care Package to take care of its employees and family through the global pandemic.

Photo / 123RF