March 17, 2021

Ready your business by ensuring vaccine access for all employees and workers.


4 tips to help you prepare for vaccine availability

Last week, the Biden administration directed states, Tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines no later than May 1. In order to meet its accelerated timeline, the administration is expanding vaccine access across 20,000 retail pharmacies nationwide, doubling the number of federally-run mass vaccination centers, increasing the number of people providing and supporting vaccinations and launching new tools to make it easier for individuals to find vaccines.

The pace of vaccinations is also picking up, with more than 2.4 million doses administered each day. Nationally, nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans have now received at least one vaccine dose. The White House is doubling down with a $1.5 billion ad campaign to persuade every American to get their jab as soon as possible.  A CBS News-YouGov poll released last Sunday, however, suggests that Republican voters may be the hardest group to persuade. Meanwhile, access to vaccines remains a real challenge, especially for many people of color, low income populations, and rural communities with less access to healthcare. Businesses can help by removing barriers to vaccination and making it as easy as possible for all employees and workers –– including hourly, seasonal, and temporary workers –– to get vaccinated when it’s their turn. Many public health departments are asking businesses to host on-site vaccine clinics to make it as easier for workers to access vaccines.

We’re here to help your business prepare. Last week, we convened nearly 500 leaders for our National Business Summit on COVID-19 Vaccines to address every aspect of corporate vaccine planning.

We’ve distilled some of the best expert guidance into these four tips.

Preparing Your Business for Vaccine Availability

  1. Don’t wait for employees to ask. Even as your workforce waits their turn for vaccines, it’s important to begin sharing information now. Consider an email from your CEO providing vaccine information and answering frequently asked questions. General Motors has gone a step further, with senior GM leadership producing regular videos where they address employee questions and keep staff informed.
  2. Embrace your trusted role. Survey research has found CEOs and business leaders are among the most trusted sources of information about the pandemic. Use that position to have conversations with employees and workers, and support workforce populations that may have unique questions or challenges accessing vaccines.
  3. Don’t think this is just a “big business” responsibility. Our Small Business Guide to COVID-19 Vaccines helps even the smallest businesses institute best practices drawn from real-world experience. In many cases, small- and medium-sized businesses will be the community leaders driving an increase in vaccinations.
  4. Keep updated on state policies. With federal guidance quickly evolving, it’s important to monitor changes in your state’s vaccine rollout plans, and consider how any changes might affect access to vaccines for your employees and workers. By keeping current with new policies, you can ensure your team gets their jabs as efficiently as possible.

Business Leadership in Action

CEOs become vaccine activists as back-to-office push grows.
As companies eye reopening workplaces, executives are the leading voices in educating employees about the safety and importance of getting vaccinated.

Minnesota’s largest employers join statewide campaign to incentivize employee vaccinations.
Target, UnitedHealth Group, General Mills and other Minnesota businesses are partnering with the state to promote vaccine education and encourage employees to schedule their shots.

Houston businesses encourage employee vaccination with bonuses and logistical support.
“We don’t need to do a requirement because all of our staff is on board,” bar owner Brad Moore said. “They are motivated about getting back to work safely.”

Illinois’ vaccination success a victory for public-private partnerships.
Peoria, Illinois ranks second in the nation for vaccine doses administered per 100,000 residents. Local business partnerships played a key role in the city’s success.

In rural Montana, your vaccination comes with a caffeinated incentive.
Montana coffee shop Mazevo Coffee partnered with Pharm406 to offer free cups of coffee to anyone getting jabs at the local pharmacy’s mobile vaccination stations.

Unilever CEO Alan Jope pens weekly emails to the company’s 150,000 employees urging them to get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. Jope has even scheduled regular all-staff calls with the company’s medical director to directly address employee questions about vaccination safety.

Amazon is hosting pop-up vaccine clinics at their Seattle headquarters.  Partnering with Virginia Mason, a Washington-based health care provider, Amazon has transformed its Meeting Center into a large vaccination site for people over age 65, or those over age 50 who live in multigenerational households. The company is also offering $80 to frontline employees who get vaccinated.

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions CEO Michael Thompson authored an op-ed for BenefitsPRO on the pivotal role employers are playing as trusted messengers of vaccine information to both their employees and their communities. Thompson calls on all employers to help “build back confidence in public health.”

Cisco has awarded over $1 million to fund innovative research focused on addressing the many technology challenges brought on by the pandemic. Learn more about how this funding built strong partnerships between scientists, technologists, and the broader business community.