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Salt Lake Chamber calls on local businesses to expedite vaccination efforts

Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek Miller and Patricia Jones, CEO of the Women's Leadership Institute, speak during a press conference on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo: Marisa Bomis / Salt Lake Chamber)

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Salt Lake Chamber are calling on local businesses to expedite vaccine distribution throughout the state by offering opportunities to employees and promoting the vaccine to customers.

Although the vaccine rollout has largely been in the hands of government, Chamber President Derek Miller notes there are several ways for businesses to help. 

“We know that many businesses, for example, at their place of businesses offer flu shots,” Miller said. “I think that serves as a good model.”

Chamber: Businesses can help vaccine rollout

This comes as Utah reports 382,881 vaccines have been administered throughout Utah — surpassing the total number of coronavirus infections since the pandemic began. As the pandemic drags on, Miller described vaccination distribution as the “battlefield that will get us to victory.” 

And it starts with efforts within local private businesses. 

“One of them is asking businesses to develop their own strategy and their own plans for making sure their employees get vaccinated,”  Miller said. 

This reflects a larger move from the federal government, who see employers as major players in the vaccine distribution game. Public health experts argue it will be crucial to ensure employees are vaccinated in order to reach herd immunity, stabilizing the fight against a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 Americans. 

More workplaces may require vaccines

As the vaccine becomes available to more Americans, it’s likely workplaces will begin requiring vaccinations. Which is legal, experts say. 

Although there are laws in place to protect some employees from getting certain medical examinations that give employers information on physical or mental abilities. That doesn’t apply to COVID-19 vaccines, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

“If a vaccine is administered to an employee by an employer for protection against contracting Covid-19, the employer is not seeking information about an individual’s impairments or current health status,” the commission wrote in a statement. “Therefore, it is not a medical examination.”

It’s unclear if the Salt Lake Chamber will partner with local businesses to implement an official program, but Miller said he expects they’ll be crucial for the state’s success.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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