Jim Dudlicek, NGA Director of Communications and External Affairs
Grocery workers were among the frontline workers named as priority recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine in many parts of the country. With vaccine rollouts proceeding and shots now widely available, have all your associates been vaccinated? Do they have questions about the vaccine? Are they still hesitant to get their shots? Do grocers with pharmacies have all the facts they need for administering the vaccine to customers as well as their store teams?
NGA recently hosted a webinar, led by Dr. Anasua Bhattacharya from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that reviewed key facts about COVID-19 vaccinations; what to expect before, during and after vaccination; collaboration between CDC and FEMA; the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program; and factors that influence decisions about vaccination.
Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
Retailers are crucial to the effort: Retail pharmacies, including those operated by grocers, are strategic partners in the vaccine rollout. In fact, more than 40,000 retail locations are contributing to increased access and equitable distribution of vaccine shots.
Fast but thorough: Getting Americans vaccinated has been an emergency priority, but that doesn’t mean the process has been rushed. COVID-19 vaccines were developed based on years of research that predates the current pandemic; researchers used existing networks to conduct COVID-19 vaccine trials. Still, the importance of getting the pandemic under control required manufacturing of vaccines to begin while clinical trials were still underway, and the FDA and CDC are prioritizing review and authorization of vaccines.
National strategy: Dubbed “Vaccinate With Confidence,” the program is built on three pillars – reinforcing trust in the vaccine, empowering health care providers to promote confidence among their patients, and engaging communities and individuals in communication about the process. This cohesive framework is critical to ensuring safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines and reducing the impact of this pandemic.
If you decide to implement your own vaccination program, consult your local health department for guidance, get input from all stakeholders, offer multiple opportunities to get shots, and offer it free of charge during work hours.
If you can’t offer shots on site, offer guidance to associates on where they can be vaccinated, promote availability in employee gathering areas, and offer paid leave so team members can get their shots.
We’re here to help: The CDC offers a toolkit for retailers to help educate associates about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns. Find messaging, fliers, social media content and other resources at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/toolkits/essential-workers.html.
To view this complete webinar, along with others in the series, visit https://nga.sclivelearningcenter.com/MVSite/default.aspx.