Public and private sector leaders discuss business community’s role in vaccine promotion

A conversation hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry yesterday featured public and private sector leaders discussing the importance of the business community’s role in supporting the vaccination effort and best practices Arizona employers have developed to encourage vaccination.

Former surgeon general: Business community essential in promoting vaccinations

Dr. Richard Carmona, former surgeon general of the United States and now a special adviser to the Arizona Department of Health Services, shared his thoughts on the role of the business community as a source of credible information, saying communications between corporations encouraging each other to assist the government in inspiring the public to get vaccinated are essential.

Of the state’s overall response, Carmona said, “I think overall that Arizona has done well, but as any leader will tell  you, there are lessons we will learn moving forward.”

U.S. Chamber striving to promote vaccination, but wary of new burdens on employers

The country’s largest business advocacy group, the U.S. Chamber says it wants to promote vaccination but also limit the burdens placed on employers.

Michael Carney, senior vice president of emerging issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said the Chamber is assessing the Biden administration’s new mandate requiring employers of more than 100 to ensure all of their employees are vaccinated. 

“At the end of the day, we all have a shared goal,” Carney said. Businesses, citizens and the government all want more people vaccinated in order to ensure public prosperity and economic health, he said.

Carney said that research shows that employers should first lead by example in getting the vaccine and should be transparent. 

Carney also said communities and workplaces are all different in various ways and that there is no gold standard for employer Covid response. The best strategies, he said, involve policies that can help workforces adapt to new information. 

Governor’s aide: Vaccines the key to ending the pandemic

At a state level, Christina Corieri, health policy adviser to Gov. Doug Ducey, talked about the importance of vaccine incentive programs and the success they have had with state government employees. 

Corieri expressed concern over misinformation and spoke about how important it is for the public to be educated on how the vaccine works and its tremendous efficacy, noting that 94% of the hospitalized Covid cases are from people who are not fully vaccinated. 

“The reasons that we don’t see polio and smallpox today is because of vaccines, and vaccines will be the reason that we don’t see covid in the future,” Corieri said.

Other guests included Sonora Quest Laboratories President and CEO Dave Dexter, who shared his own company’s incentives to promote vaccination among its workforce, and Julia Strange, vice president of community benefit for TMC HealthCare, who discussed how Covid has exacerbated healthcare industry labor challenges.

“I appreciate each of these leaders’ willingness to discuss how the business community can help get more Arizonans vaccinated and get this pandemic under control,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden said. “Conversations like these are good reminders that job creators throughout the pandemic have worked hard to keep their employees and customers safe and now, without being mandated to do so by the government, are sharing with their workforce how safe and effective these vaccines are.”

Stephen Matter

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