Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council recently applauded the FDA approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use one day following the FDA Advisory Panel’s formal recommendation that it be approved – a move NSC also supported. As shipments of the vaccine begin, we reiterate our support for the CDC recommendation to prioritize healthcare personnel and those in long-term care facilities, who need it most urgently.
The use of vaccines can elicit strong feelings on all sides of the issue. However, we are facing a pandemic of epic proportions. By August this year, the number of deaths from COVID-19 had already exceeded the total annual number of unintentional, preventable deaths from drug overdoses, car crashes, falls, drowning and other accidental incidents combined. Widespread support for the COVID-19 vaccine is critical – for both the health of our population as well as our economic recovery. Employers’ role is vital in adoption and rollout, and NSC urges employers to support the vaccine to keep their workers safe.
In the short-term, as we prioritize getting the vaccine to those most at risk, employers must not forget to reinforce the proven COVID-19 safety precautions to stop the spread – encouraging face coverings, hand-washing, physical distancing, remote work for nonessential employees, and testing and contact tracing. However, now is the time for all employers in all industries to develop their vaccine plans. We also urge the federal government to work with the business community – both the private and public sectors – to develop universal guidance for employers to roll out education and distribution of the vaccine to employees. NSC stands ready to assist with this effort. Our preliminary recommendations are available at nsc.org/vaccines.
NSC will continue to provide resources for employers so they can safely and effectively implement vaccine strategies, and NSC will call on its vast network of partners – including those federal government agencies – to help.
As NSC said on Dec. 10, the approval of vaccines is groundbreaking. Worldwide strategies to distribute them should be just as innovative, with employers at the heart of the efforts.