Former US Health Officials Urge Companies To Adopt More Safety Rules

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Public health experts, along with a bipartisan group of officials from the last five presidential administrations, are pressing private sector leaders to adopt a new set of recommendations to maximize coronavirus vaccination among their employees.

The open letter from the group says you “have a key role to play in our national quest to keep Americans safe and respect individual freedoms,” and asks businesses to create new workplace rules to complement federal and local governments’ actions to increase vaccines. against the rising Delta variant. Fully vaccinated persons are protected Against the worst consequences of Covid-19, including those caused by the delta variant.

The letter recommends asking employees of private companies that employ 124 million Americans to get vaccinated. Last year, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission He said employers can request immunizations, but companies that do so may still face lawsuits.

However, companies are also advised to take steps if they choose not to require vaccinations in their workforce.

These include an “infection screening protocol” that requires twice-weekly screening via rapid tests. Anyone with proof of vaccination will be allowed to skip this routine test. The letter also recommends that companies provide incentives for their employees to get vaccinated, including cash payments and paid leave.

“We recognize that any protocol creates some burden and cost for businesses and your employees,” the letter states. “Still, these will be relatively modest compared to the significant cost of continued disruption and uncertainty in business productivity and people’s lives.”

The private sector initiative comes a week after President Biden sought to revive the country’s stalled vaccine push. with a new set of requirements a request for federal workers and local governments to offer cash incentives.

Some of the country’s biggest employers, such as Disney and Tyson Foods, have mandatory vaccinations for their employeesOthers, like Google and Microsoft, want proof of vaccination to return to the office.

The letter was signed by President Donald J. Trump’s surgeon general, Jerome Adams; Richard Carmona, surgeon general to President George W. Bush; Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration’s health secretary; Andy Slavitt, who served as senior advisor to the Covid response coordinator under Biden; and former first lady Rosalynn Carter, among others.

The new private sector push is being led by the Covid Collaborative, a bipartisan group of political and scientific leaders working on vaccine education and working closely with the White House on the vaccine. vaccine rejection. John Bridgeland, co-founder of Covid Collaborative, said the plan is to mobilize 1,000 or more businesses.

Companies like Accenture, Baptist Health, Kaiser Permanente, Tyson Foods, Live Nation and Ad Council have signed up to support what the group calls #CovidSafeZones, and more major employers are expected to join in the coming days.

“We know there is an impetus for collective action, so no business feels disadvantaged and the impact of these steps is maximized,” the letter states. “We believe that if you take visible action, more will follow.”

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