March 2, 2021

Biden Administration Asks Businesses for Help with Vaccine Rollout


Let's “unleash the full force of the private sector” to supercharge America’s COVID-19 recovery.

Last Friday, the Biden administration called on the business community to “unleash the full force of the private sector” to supercharge America’s COVID-19 recovery.

Employers can help by remaining vigilant about prevention, reducing barriers to vaccination, and communicating to employees and customers about the benefits of masking and vaccines. Next Tuesday, March 9, the Health Action Alliance will host a National Business Summit on COVID-19 Vaccines to provide companies with best practice resources and guidance to take action.

Meanwhile, a weary nation received much-needed good news over the weekend - FDA authorization of Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine. J&J plans to distribute around 20 million doses by the end of March, but as Dr. Anthony Fauci advises, workers should take any approved vaccine available to them instead of waiting for a preferred brand. More than 50 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the pace of vaccinations has accelerated to over 1.8 million shots every day.

The positive signs come with caveats. Experts worry that a 30 percent decline in testing in recent weeks, coupled with a new wave of reopenings and liftings of pandemic restrictions, could reduce the nation’s ability to control the spread of COVID-19 just as more contagious variants are spreading across the country.

Business News

Vaccines are reaching further into disproportionately impacted communities, thanks to partnerships between the federal government, states, and national pharmacy retailers.

Last month, CVS Health announced an initiative to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations at its locations, including nearly 5,000 pharmacies in communities ranked “high” or “very high” on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). CVS Health joins Walgreens and 19 other pharmacy partners and networks working to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines, with a focus on reaching Black and Hispanic communities where vaccination rates are significantly lower. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are ramping up vaccine production after working out manufacturing issues that initially delayed the first shots, executives told Congress last week.

However, minority-owned small businesses are still facing serious headwinds.

  • Just over one third (37%) of Black small-business owners said their companies could survive a year under current occupancy limits, compared to 59% of White entrepreneurs.
  • 15% of Black-owned small businesses that shuttered during the pandemic have yet to reopen, versus just 8% of White-owned businesses.
  • Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs face questions from employees about the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Most Americans are ready to be vaccinated.

In a welcome sign that public opinion about vaccines is shifting, over half (55%) of Americans have already begun the vaccination process or say they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it became available to them. That’s an 8 point increase from January, reflecting a focused effort by businesses nationwide to encourage high rates of vaccination among employees through cash bonus incentive programs, time off, and even free food.

Take Action

Here are 4 ways you can take health action this week.

  1. Register for our March 9 National Business Summit on COVID-19 Vaccines, featuring CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten, and other leaders.
  2. Click and Share our National Business Summit on Twitter. You can help spread the word among your network of professionals with a single click.
  3. Download our Quick Start Guide. We’ve curated this resource to help you develop your company’s vaccine policy and employee engagement plan.
  4. Spread the Word. We can’t chit-chat over the water cooler right now, but you can use our Social Media Toolkit to share the Health Action Alliance with business leaders in your network.

Business Leadership in Action

The Ad Council, COVID Collaborative, and dozens of corporate partners team up to launch media campaign encouraging vaccinations.
The effort, supported by more than $51 million in donations from the private sector, will promote the benefits of vaccination to a national audience of broadcast, online, radio and social media consumers.

PayPal commits $5 million in Uber rides to get people to vaccine appointments.
PayPal said it was responding to the Biden Administration's call for corporations to help support vaccination efforts.

Hawaiian fast food chain Zippy’s is offering employees redeemable prize tokens if they get vaccinated.
In lieu of a corporate mandate, the company plans to create a “marketplace of redemption items,” including branded clothing and paid time off, to incentivize widespread vaccination of its 1,600 employees.

National Association of Manufacturers CEO speaks out.
“Our job is to get real information and facts to our workforce to let them know how safe the vaccine is, how important it is to get it, and how real the pandemic is,” Jay Timmons told CNN Business.

Last Friday, Business Roundtable launched its Move the Needle initiative, a campaign by the business community to increase COVID-19 vaccine uptake and encourage individuals to wear masks while the vaccination process is underway. The campaign website offers resources for employers to remain up to date on COVID-19 safety protocols and vaccine resources, while encouraging vaccination within their workforce.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched the Rally for Recovery Commitment, supporting and empowering businesses and business organizations nationwide to take basic but important steps to accelerate vaccinations, protect workers, stop the spread of coronavirus, and defeat the pandemic.