Taking the Vaccine Will Make for a Healthier Workforce This Year
By: Scott Muelrath
Guest Column in Las Vegas Sun:
For businesses, a healthy workforce is always a paramount concern. Employers recognize that employees who feel well will perform well. Workers who know their family’s health care needs are covered can contribute their talents even more, on the job and in the community. Health is the ultimate win-win.
Over the past year, the health of Nevada’s workforce has been impacted, as a global pandemic has caused many of our businesses to shutter their doors to deal with COVID-19. And those companies that have managed to stay open have implemented a variety of safety measures to protect employees and customers, initiatives that differ between restaurants and retailers, manufacturers and professional services.
Through it all, we’ve counted on local hospitals and their frontline workers who have given endlessly of themselves to help patients in emergency rooms and intensive care units withstand the onslaught of this virus. When anyone in the company family, a direct employee or a colleague’s loved one, fell sick, we knew that high-quality medical care was available.
With few proven therapeutics for COVID-19 available, survival often depends on personal, attentive care, such as rotating patients being treated, so they can breathe easier. It’s time-consuming, physical work, and we have so many frontline medical professionals and support staff to thank for their efforts.
Fortunately, there is now something more we can do to help protect our neighbors from COVID-19 and ease the burden on our hospitals: Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Already, hospitals are rolling out vaccines to their workers. It is a relief to realize that the individuals who rushed in to save lives are gaining the confidence of strong immunity against COVID-19. Significant evidence indicates that the vaccines also prevent carrying the virus to others, so they can rest assured their families are safer now, too.
Southern Nevada has also begun inoculating seniors over age 70, and free vaccinations are available. If you are in this high-risk risk group, schedule your shots immediately. It’s not just something you do for you, but also for your family, your community, and the health care workers you’d turn to if you caught COVID-19.
When supplies permit, vaccines will be made universally available. Everyone is strongly urged to be vaccinated so we can stop the spread of the virus and put an end to the pandemic that has cost lives, jobs and economic stability.
The business community will be part of that process. We’ll work with providers and health plans to understand when and how employees and their families can be vaccinated. We’ll encourage vaccination as a means to safeguard coworkers and customers. We’ll make time available for employees to receive the vaccine or offer on-site vaccination, as we often do for flu, if that becomes an option.
These steps will help Nevada’s economy recover — the quicker we can recover from this pandemic, the quicker our businesses can bounce back, hire back employees that have been displaced and provide them the opportunity to provide for their own families and loved ones. And as businesses are made whole again, it will bring back our community again as well.
For those concerned about safety, know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines safe and effective, after both vaccines went through rigorous studies and clinical trials. For those who have questions about the mRNA technology used in the development of the vaccine, know that the technology has been studied for over 10 years and uses cells to make proteins in order to build immunity. If you are still unsure, check with your doctor.
Since COVID-19 struck, millions of Americans have repeated the phrase, “we’re all in this together.” Today, that includes supporting our hospitals and facilitating broad vaccination so we can finally get back to normal.
Scott Muelrath is President and CEO of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.