Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz is going on the offensive before COVID-19 vaccines become readily available for the general public.
“It really is just critical for the vast majority of us to get the vaccine in order for us to achieve the herd immunity that we need to achieve in order for us to go back to a normal existence,” Hasenfratz said Monday night on a webinar entitled Finding the Balance During COVID-19.
The auto parts executive is one of nine people appointed to the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force, which will oversee distribution of the vaccine when it’s available in that province.
More than 6,000 people tuned in to watch Hasenfratz on the webinar; by Tuesday afternoon the video had been watched more than 10,000 times on Facebook.
Hasenfratz urged people to get the vaccine when it becomes available and quell any fears people might have about its safety and approval process.
“It really is just critical for the vast majority of us to get the vaccine in order for us to achieve the herd immunity that we need to achieve in order for us to go back to a normal existence,” Hasenfratz said.
While the vaccine was developed quickly, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t done safely, she said.
“Yes, it was fast. You shouldn’t be worried that this was developed fast or that corners were cut. Given the urgency of the situation, these vaccines went right to the top of the approval process.”
Hasenfratz estimated that Canada is “two thirds through this” pandemic.
‘That makes me feel really good. The rollout to the general public is coming in the April time frame.”
That’s roughly one year after Linamar idled its plants worldwide during the first wave of the novel coronavirus.
“It had a huge impact back in the spring when, like everybody else, we were shut down for two long months,” Hasenfratz said of the virus. “Happily, since then, things have been coming back really well.”
She said 97 per cent of Linamar’s workforce — both plant and office employees — is back to work. But that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t in the plants.
“Yes, we’re seeing positive cases pop up from our plants around the world every week,” she said, adding that the cases are originating outside Linamar facilities.
“What we’re not seeing is transmission within the facilities.”
She said company-supplied personal protective equipment and health-and-safety protocols are working to keep her employees healthy.
“We wanted them to feel safer at work than not at work.”