WASHINGTON, July 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Health Action Alliance (HAA) today kicked off a new, coordinated effort by employers, business groups and public health organizations to help working parents vaccinate eligible children against COVID-19 and catch up on other routine immunizations that may have been delayed during the pandemic. The effort is being championed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Business Roundtable, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), the American Staffing Association and more than two dozen other national business groups and public health organizations.
According to the AAP, more than 4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, and COVID-19 has caused serious illness, complications and even death in some children and teens. Yet, as of today, less than 30 percent of the 23 million children ages 12 and older who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines are fully vaccinated. Federal health officials warn that vaccinating eligible children and adolescents has become even more urgent as a new school year approaches and the highly transmissible Delta variant drives a surge in new infections across the country. For the week ending July 8, children represented nearly a quarter of all new reported COVID-19 cases.
During a National Business Town Hall on Childhood Vaccinations held today, top business and public health leaders joined Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, AAP President Dr. Lee Savio Beers, White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity Dr. Cameron Webb, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose CEO Daryl Brewster and Boston Consulting Group Managing Director & Partner Amanda Brimmer to call on employers to remove barriers for working parents who want to vaccinate their children. They're encouraging employers to:
- Provide paid time off or flexible scheduling for working parents to attend vaccine appointments with children who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, care for children recovering from vaccine side effects, and catch up on other routine immunizations that may have been delayed during the pandemic;
- Offer transportation, language support or Internet access for scheduling appointments;
- Connect families to free or discounted child care if they need support managing care for multiple children;
- Offer incentives to employees to get their vaccine-eligible children vaccinated; and,
- Partner with local health departments to host on-site or mobile vaccination clinics for employees and their families, including eligible children.
Employers are encouraged to sustain these policies when younger children become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, which is anticipated in late 2021 or early 2022.
Today, the following organizations announced their support of the initiative: Ad Council, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, American Staffing Association, Big Cities Health Coalition, Business Group on Health, Business Partners to CONVINCE, Business Roundtable, CDC Foundation, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, COVID Collaborative, de Beaumont Foundation, GBCHealth, LatinX COVID-19 Task Force, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, National Rural Health Association, National Safety Council, Reimagine Main Street, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rural America Chamber of Commerce, Rural Assembly, SHRM, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Council for International Business Foundation and Vaccinate Your Family.
"We know that parents trust pediatricians and healthcare providers, so it is critical that working families, particularly women, communities of color and families with lower income who have borne the brunt of the child care crisis be allotted time to visit with their child's pediatrician for vaccinations," said Dr. Lee Savio Beers, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Employees with children may have many questions and they need accurate information and facts. Vaccinating children keeps them healthy which, among many benefits, means they don't miss school and parents don't miss work."
"August is National Immunization Awareness Month and I am reminded of how far we have come in tackling vaccine-preventable diseases in this country," said Dr. Judy Monroe, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "Vaccines have protected individuals and families from life-threatening diseases such as whooping cough, HPV and the flu. They are safe and effective in preventing serious and potentially deadly diseases such as COVID-19, and this initiative to have employers support their workers can play an important role in encouraging more vaccinations. As new, more transmissible virus variants spread across the United States, it's urgent that eligible children are protected."
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, business leaders, as the most trusted resource to their employees, have played a critical role in working with the public health community," said Daryl Brewster, CEO of Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose. "Business leaders can remove barriers, enact policies, and connect across divides to support the vaccination of their employees and their families, including their children. The benefits will be profound—to society, the economy, business, and employee wellbeing."
As part of this coordinated effort, employers across the country are invited to share their specific company actions and best practices. Health Action Alliance and the AAP encourage participating companies to activate their commitments during National Immunization Awareness Month in August and beyond.
"The country's leading business groups and public health organizations agree: removing barriers for working parents who choose to vaccinate their children is good for health, good for workers and good for business," said Stephen Massey, managing director of the Health Action Alliance.
About the Health Action Alliance
Health Action Alliance is a joint initiative of the Ad Council, the Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—in partnership with Meteorite. Together, we work to strengthen and accelerate the business community's response to COVID-19, address health inequities and strengthen public health infrastructure. Learn more at: http://healthaction.org
SOURCE Health Action Alliance