December 7th, 2021 | Sterling

Covid-19 Program for Pharma and Biotech Companies

Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have recently found themselves seeking ways to stay up to par with the Covid-19 mandate, which requires U.S. employers with more than 100 employees to either be vaccinated or undergo weekly Covid-19 testing. A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 72% of unvaccinated workers would leave their job if their employer mandated vaccines but didn’t offer any testing options. Identifying effective ways to accommodate critical employees who cannot or don’t want to be vaccinated while still maintaining compliance has become increasingly vital.

At the same time, finding highly qualified candidates whose skills match the job requirements is incredibly difficult: 76% of pharma HR-decision makers agree that they struggle to find people whose skills match the job requirements. How can these companies adhere to this urgent need in a safe and timely manner?

Sterling has developed a new Covid-19 health screening solution to address these challenges. Offering an easy and convenient way to help manage, review, and track Covid-19 vaccination cards, as well as assisting in administering weekly at-home Covid-19 tests, our goal is to help life sciences resume normal business operations safely.

Below outlines 5 frequently asked questions about Sterling’s Covid-19 programs (Vaccine Collection and Health Testing) from our pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients.

1. Why is there a need for this service?

Organizations are already dealing with the growing challenges of staffing shortages, hiring talent quickly, and keeping up with ever-evolving regulations. With facilities now tasked with tracking their employees’ vaccination status or testing regularly, identifying where to start and how to validate one’s status can be complicated and time-consuming. Many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies simply do not have their own onsite facility to perform weekly testing. More importantly, these companies can’t risk losing their critical employees. That’s why Sterling has launched our flexible Covid-19 program, allowing you to protect your workforce and focus on your business.

2. How does Sterling’s end-to-end Covid-19 program work?

A. Develop Your Customized Program
Sterling will help guide you in creating a customized program to fit your business needs. We will also work with you to smoothly integrate this service as a part of your background screening process for both current and new employees.

B. Distribute Covid-19 Vaccination Status Questionnaire
Your employees will receive an invite from you to complete the Covid-19 vaccination questionnaire. They will then select whether they are vaccinated or not vaccinated. If your employee selects “vaccinated,” they will then be prompted to upload a copy of their vaccination documentation.

As an additional option, Sterling can also check whether personal identifiable information (PII) matches the first name, last name, and date of birth (DOB) in the Candidate Hub. We can also confirm if the documentation appears to be a vaccine record (documents are not authenticated).

C. View Your Standardized Report
Your vaccination documentation report will be accessible for you via your Client Hub/Order Manager.

If you determine an employee is eligible for weekly at-home Covid-19 testing (e.g. if they are lab or patient-facing), Sterling’s Covid-19 health testing services can be coordinated. This allows you to maintain compliance with government standards as well as safety for your employees, your patients, and the community.

3. Why is it worth the cost of having weekly Covid-19 testing?

A lot of resources go into onboarding a new hire, including both time and money. A survey conducted by Randstad states that the average time to fill a vacant position in the life sciences field is 105 days or 3.5 months. This is one of the longest vacancies among all industries that were a part of the survey.

On average, a Covid-19 test for one employee costs $145 per week, which includes shipment of the testing kit, submitting results to a lab, and lab testing. Based on this, you could be looking at investing around $8,000 for one employee over the course of a year. Compared to the average cost it would take to hire and onboard someone, which is around $52,000, a weekly Covid-19 test would cost roughly 15% less than what it would cost to hire someone new. This means that ongoing testing could be a sufficient cost-saving option for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies needing a short-term solution as they continue navigating possible vaccination mandates.

4. I want my employees to have a safe and seamless experience. How can this service provide that?

We understand that a Covid-19 vaccination mandate is a sensitive issue and want to be sure that your employees feel safe when being asked to submit their vaccination status. That is why Sterling will work closely with you to understand how you wish to communicate with your employees and confirm any details that will involve them. When it comes to your employees’ personal information, we provide multiple layers of security, and our dedicated data security team continuously monitors systems and operations.

We also want to make sure the user experience is quick and efficient. When employees begin the Covid-19 vaccination questionnaire, most of their personal identifiable information (PII) will already be auto-populated into the questionnaire, saving them time and effort.

Finally, Sterling has access to the latest Covid-19 testing solutions as they come to market and they fit our high level of quality and FDA-authorization standards.

5. How quickly can Sterling roll out this service to my organization?

Depending on the size and scope of the program, a Covid-19 health screening program can be launched in 3-4 weeks. This is based on a recent program launch with a biotechnology company that came to Sterling looking for both Covid-19 vaccination collection and weekly testing.

Learn more about Sterling’s Covid-19 Program

Sterling has helped healthcare and life sciences organizations build strong workforces and company cultures on a foundation of trust and safety. We understand navigating the current workforce can be challenging during this time, but we are here to help. Contact us to learn more about how you can implement a Covid-19 program suited to your needs.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.