Supply chain industry groups have started to throw their weight behind a growing number of corporate and regional requirements for individuals to get vaccinated against Covid-19, saying the medicine is the best bet for the U.S. economy to return to normal.
The announcements come as the highly contagious “delta variant” of the coronavirus has spread swiftly through many communities, straining hospitals’ capacity to treat patients with covid—or any other illness—and posing a grave threat to vulnerable members of society such as the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.
In response to the flare-up, private employers have begun lining up to require their workers to be vaccinated before schools, universities, and offices are expected to welcome people back to traditional workspaces in the fall. Examples include transportation powerhouses like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Door Dash, Ford, Uber, and Lyft as well as retail giants like Saks, Tyson Foods, The Walt Disney Company, and Walmart, according to published reports.
And the country’s largest employer, the federal government, has done the same thing, announcing July 29 that every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status, or else wear a mask, test weekly, socially distance, and avoid work travel.
Industry groups are joining those voices in a race to increase vaccination rates and preserve the nation’s economic rebound from the pandemic recession, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. “Vaccination is the key to further economic recovery, reopening, and rebuilding,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said in a release. “With the outlook for the global economy continuing to hinge on public health, vaccine numbers are extremely important, not just for the United States but for the whole world.”
“We are now in the second half of 2021 and the economy has heated up along with the summer temperatures,” Kleinhenz said. “Gross domestic product surpassed its pre-crisis peak during the second quarter and vigorous growth is expected throughout the rest of the year. It is a very different year from 2020 and a much better one. The economic momentum has been helped by government monetary and fiscal policies and, more importantly, the rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations.”
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is also supporting those efforts, saying it has equipped its member companies with resources to help their teams get vaccinated and protect their communities, including videos, graphics, and vaccine locators.
“The lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines were made for us, by people like us—manufacturers in the United States. They are proven, safe and the only way we can save lives, end the pandemic, and sustain our economic recovery,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a release. “Since vaccines became available, manufacturers have been leading by example, helping their employees access vaccines and confidently get vaccinated, and we support all efforts to get more Americans vaccinated so we can beat back Covid-19 and the aggressive delta variant and save lives.”
Echoing that call was the Reshoring Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group that provides research and support for companies trying to “reshore” and bring manufacturing and services back to America. “Getting vaccinated protects yourself, your family and friends, your co-workers, and the other people around you. If you haven’t already, sign up to get vaccinated today,” the group said on its website.