February 23, 2021

Our Moment to Meet


Launching the Health Action Alliance weekly digest

Welcome to the Health Action Alliance’s Executive Digest, a weekly review of the key news, resources, events, and actions companies are taking to help keep employees, customers, and communities safe.

Yesterday, the United States reached a grim milestone, surpassing more than 500,000 known coronavirus-related deaths in a pandemic that's lasted almost a year. That means more Americans have died from COVID-19 than did on the battlefields of World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.

Vaccines offer hope, but vaccines alone don’t save lives. Vaccinations do. To advance the return to normalcy, it is essential to get everyone vaccinated.

The good news is that the pace of vaccinations is accelerating, and new cases are declining nationwide. The U.S. is now administering about 1.6 million vaccine doses per day, and about 13% of the population has received at least one dose. But significant challenges remain, including an inequitable start to vaccine rollout, the emergence of new virus strains, and lingering public uncertainty about vaccines.

Here's the Latest.

The U.S. vaccine supply is growing, but still falls short of demand.

There are wide disparities in vaccine access and distribution by race and ethnicity.

  • Despite being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, Black and Hispanic Americans are receiving vaccines at alarmingly lower rates than White Americans.
  • Experts say this is the result of long-standing, systemic health inequities like language and technology barriers, disparities in access to medical facilities, and a lack of transportation or time off from jobs to get appointments.
  • Health officials across the country acknowledge that the coveted vaccine shots are disproportionately going to wealthier, White Americans and that planners’ efforts to course-correct are having only limited effects.

Businesses are already planning for vaccines.

According to a survey of executives released yesterday,

  • Mandating vaccines will be the exception, not the rule –– fewer than 1% of respondents have plans to mandate vaccinations for employees, and only 20% are even considering it.
  • A larger share of employers are exploring ways to incentivize vaccinations, and a quarter (25%) are actively working to facilitate vaccinations for employees.
  • Nearly half of businesses (48%) plan to provide paid time off for employees to get vaccinated.

Public-private partnership is key.

Take Action.

Here are 3 ways you can take health action this week.

  1. Develop your vaccine policy early. Our comprehensive Quick Start Guide will help you develop your company’s vaccine policy and employee engagement plan.
  2. Utilize multiple communications channels. Our Sample Communications Plan will help you jump start your employee outreach.
  3. Help grow our community. Use our Social Media Toolkit to share our free tools and resources with business leaders in your network.

Business Leadership in Action

Target will offer paid time off and cover transportation costs for employees who get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Starbucks is partnering with state public health officials to support accelerated, safe, and equitable vaccine administration across Washington State.

Walmart joins Maine governor in plan to roll out COVID-19 vaccines in rural and underserved communities across the state.

Chobani CEO: "It’s simple, fair and the right thing to do."

Today, the de Beaumont Foundation and Johns Hopkins University released a new report with 7 business strategies to strengthen the health of employees and communities. Tune into their Washington Post live event this Thursday, February 25th at 9:30am EST to learn more about their recommendations.

This Thursday at 12pm EST, the US Chamber of Commerce will host a Small Business Update, providing insights about the latest changes to the Payroll Protection Program for minority-owned businesses and the nation’s smallest firms. Register here.