WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In the face of the latest and more contagious variant of COVID-19, Delta, a bipartisan group of leaders and public health experts, in an open letter to CEOs provided by the COVID Collaborative, are calling on private sector employers to require vaccinations where possible and take steps to keep workplaces safe and prevent the spread.
The letter emphasizes the need to maximize vaccinations, through requirements in certain settings or regular screenings. Incentives such as cash payments, paid leave, or the ability to bypass other safety protocols, such as regular infection screening, are called out. Vaccinations are the best way to protect workers and customers where there is frequent close contact with many individuals who may be infected. The approach aims to respect both public safety and individual rights.
"These #COVIDSafeZones recommendations are achievable measures to contain COVID-19 now," said Mark McClellan, Director, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and former FDA Commissioner and Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator. "These steps by businesses will not only protect the 124 million Americans working in the private sector--they protect customers, families, and all of us."
Many businesses and government agencies have already taken steps and expressed a desire to follow these new recommendations, including Accenture, Baptist Health, Centene, Computer Generated Solutions, Kaiser Permanente, and Live Nation.
"A growing number of businesses and government agencies have implemented the recommendations outlined in today's letter, but with COVID-19 cases rising, we need more business leaders to step forward and implement these temporary measures for the next six months," said Andy Slavitt, Former White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 response and former Acting Administrator for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "We need strong leadership from businesses to beat this pandemic."
The letter is available on COVIDCollaborative.us and business leaders are encouraged to share their intent to implement the outlined safety measures.
Statements of Support from Private Sector
Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture
"Let's continue to raise awareness about the science and effectiveness of vaccines, and how increasing vaccination rates is vital for the health, safety, well-being and prosperity of all people in the U.S. The CovidSafeZones recommendations are practical and achievable steps the private sector can take to do our part in protecting our employees and communities."
Gerard Colman, CEO, Baptist Health
"We must lead by example by requiring that all Baptist Health employees are fully vaccinated. It is the ethical and responsible thing to do to live our mission of improving the healthcare of the communities that we serve."
Michael Neidorff, CEO, Centene
"Throughout the pandemic, Centene's primary goal has been to cultivate an atmosphere of health and safety for our members and employees. As the Delta variant continues its spread, we believe our industry must address vaccine hesitancy, especially to protect those who cannot safely receive the inoculation, such as young children. We have implemented a number of additional precautions to help protect the health and safety of our workforce and protect the vulnerable populations we serve, including asking all employees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. We will offer employees up to a $1,000 discount to their health insurance premiums for conducting a number of healthy behaviors including COVID-19 vaccination, as well as host vaccine webinars with our medical officers to continue to educate and provide accurate vaccine information to our workforce. Employees without proof of vaccination will be required to participate in routine COVID-19 testing and wear masks at all times while in our offices. In addition, these individuals will be restricted from business travel. Furthermore, we will require vaccination as a general condition of employment for all new employees beginning October 1, 2021. We encourage all our peers, especially businesses that directly serve customers and patrons, to adopt the #COVIDSafeZones recommendations."
Phil Friedman, President / CEO, Computer Generated Solutions, Inc
"The proposed COVID SafeZones solutions are common sense, practical, non-intrusive and should be embraced by leaders of the private sector industries. The Government can't do it alone. At this extraordinary time the business community needs to come together, speak with one voice, encourage and provide support for all qualified employees to get vaccinated. We need to do it for the sake of our associates, their families and to insure continued operations of our businesses. Together we shall win this fight."
Greg A. Adams, Chair and CEO, Kaiser Permanente
"COVID-19 cases are increasing dramatically from the highly infectious Delta variant and the most effective way to prevent continued spread is vaccination. That is why Kaiser Permanente is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all of our employees and physicians and joining initiatives such as COVIDSafeZones. We must continue to work together, lead by example and do everything we can to help bring an end to this pandemic and deter the emergence of potentially even more worrisome and dangerous future variants."
Michael Rapino, CEO, Live Nation
"Quite simply vaccines are our ticket to the life and people we love – and Live Nation is committed to promoting vaccination efforts. We want artists, fans and our employees to feel safe coming to a Live Nation show so we are going to require that all of our employees are vaccinated against COVID. As soon as vaccines became available Live Nation used our multiple platforms in ticketing, and video streaming to promote vaccines to the public. And now that we are open in some states across the country with live shows, we will continue to promote this message to attendees. We are proud to join #COVIDSafeZones in this important work for our country."
The COVID Collaborative is a national assembly of experts, leaders and institutions in health, education and the economy and associations representing the diversity of the country to turn the tide on the pandemic by supporting federal, state and local COVID-19 response efforts.
SOURCE COVID Collaborative