April 7, 2021

Vaccine "ambassadors" can help boost vaccine confidence and access for workers.


All adults will be eligible for vaccines within two weeks.

Yesterday, the Biden Administration accelerated its deadline for states to make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccines to April 19. “No more confusing rules. No more confusing restrictions,” President Biden said in a speech from the White House, during which he credited state vaccine planning and rapid increases in vaccine supply. The United States is now administering over 3 million daily vaccine doses, roughly equivalent to vaccinating the entire population of Iowa every single day. Nationally, about 1 in 3 Americans has received at least one vaccine dose.

But a surge in new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations threatens the country's progress toward recovery and reopening. Public health experts have said that the vaccines are in a race against worrisome coronavirus variants that were first identified in Britain, South Africa and Brazil. Twenty-seven states reported an increase in new COVID-19 infections for the week ending April 4. Meanwhile, hospitalizations also rose 4% nationally, with many states facing double-digit increases in new cases. President Biden has asked state officials to wait until rates fall before easing restrictions on businesses. This mixed news offers a stark reminder that the full weight of the private sector is needed to help supercharge America's vaccine response. New research from Willis Towers Watson suggests a majority of large employers (60%) have communicated to employees about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, but only one-third (35%) have developed policies to make getting vaccinated easier. Meanwhile, a survey released yesterday by Reimagine Main Street found that a majority of small businesses (64%) say it is "very important" that their employees get vaccinated, and nearly half (45%) plan to give workers paid time off to do so.

This week, Health Action Alliance announced a new initiative aimed at empowering workforce populations that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Our strategy is consistent with the Department of Health & Human Services' new effort to cultivate trusted messengers who can deliver consistent, fact-based public health messaging. HAA's Vaccine Education Program for Employee Resource Groups and Diversity Leaders provides tools and training to help your ERG and DEI leaders become trusted vaccine "ambassadors" in your workplace.

3 Ways to Empower Your ERG and DEI Leaders

  1. Register for an upcoming Vaccine Education Workshop for ERG and DEI Leaders. You'll receive expert training to deliver vaccine education sessions at your company, engage peers in fact-based conversations, support employees who may need extra help scheduling vaccine appointments or accessing vaccines, and work with management to prioritize the needs and concerns of disproportionately impacted communities.
  2. Visit our ERG and DEI Resource Hub for a full suite of new resources to support employee populations that may have unique questions or challenges accessing vaccines. Our fact sheets are available for Black and African American employees, Hispanic employees (also in Spanish), employees with disabilities, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQAI+ team members.
  3. Create opportunities for employees to share their stories. Recent research indicates nearly a quarter (24%) of Black adults and one in five (18%) Hispanics say they will "wait and see" how the vaccine works on others before getting their jabs. Invite ERG members to share their experiences, either informally, at a team meeting, or through your employee affinity group and company channels.