Businesses, public health organizations form alliance to strengthen COVID-19 response

Major business and public health organizations are teaming up to enhance the business community's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ad Council, Business Roundtable, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have jointly formed the Health Action Alliance, which will assist a participating network of businesses in improving their workers' health, providing COVID-19 prevention and vaccination information and strengthening their public health capabilities.

Another focus, the organizations said, is on improving health equity and assisting underserved and disproportionately impacted communities.

Initial participants in the program include big names such as Amazon, CVS Health, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Comcast, Walgreens and Walmart. The alliance is backed by impact firm Meteorite, which builds coalitions "to improve lives and strengthen communities," according to an announcement.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, but as the historic vaccine rollout gets underway, there is increased reason for optimism,” said Joshua Bolten, president and CEO of Business Roundtable, in a statement.

“And the business community has an important role to play in sharing with employees and the broader communities where they operate the importance of vaccination to help defeat the pandemic and lead our country toward a robust economic recovery," Bolten said.

For example, the alliance will offer free online tools to help businesses educate their workers about COVID-19 vaccines so they can make informed decisions about where and when to get a shot.

Health Action Alliance will also coordinate virtual events and training sessions with health experts and communications professionals to further enhance educational opportunities, according to the announcement. The alliance is teaming with a number of healthcare groups including the American Medical Association and America's Health Insurance Plans to facilitate this effort.

Particpating businesses will be able to network with their peers as well to learn best practices.

“The success of our country’s vaccination program will take all of us, including the leadership of the business community," said Richard Besser, M.D., CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in a statement. "Through partnerships with public health, consistent communication from trusted sources, and keeping equity front and center, business can help put an end to this crisis. The tools and resources that have been developed by the Health Action Alliance provide the necessary guidance for business leaders to navigate the months ahead and, ultimately, help build a healthier America.”