Panel Discussion: Reaching Immunity Takes A Community

The way we work and live continues to evolve due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19; however, the next wave of discussions to unfold at the executive table and beyond contains more hope.

As we look forward to increased vaccine supplies, medical professionals and employers are in the best position to address hesitancy, as vaccines are our shot to leave this pandemic behind us.

The health and safety of our workforce is a top priority. We recognize that to reach the target vaccination rates necessary to contain the virus employers must play a part in helping to end this pandemic. As leaders, it is our responsibility to act when we can, set an example for those we lead and turn this pandemic around.

What role can employers play in the national vaccine effort?

In a recent virtual event hosted by CareFirst BlueCross Blue Shield (CareFirst), a panel of medical and corporate human resources professionals pulled back the curtain on the thought process and planning that went into their decisions on how to support, educate and encourage their employees to get vaccinated.

Reggie White, Senior Vice President of Commercial Markets and CareFirst Administrators, CareFirst, kicked the event off and turned it over to Mary Penczek, Vice President of Commercial Markets and Client Management, CareFirst, who led the panel discussion that included:

  • Carole Braithwaite, Senior Director of Compensation and Benefits, Asbury Communities, Inc.
  • Eoin Byrne, Vice President, Human Resources, Lidl
  • Angela Celestin, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
  • Michelle A. Gourdine, MD, Interim Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Population Health and Primary Care, University of Maryland Medical System

Specific topics covered during the panel discussion included:

  • Stressing the importance of listening and discussing the critical role of vaccines
  • Addressing concerns, fears and hesitancy related to being vaccinated
  • Highlighting the critical role we, as community leaders and employers, play in supporting public health
  • Sharing decisions, insights and actions currently being taken or planned to energize employees to contribute to the vaccination rates needed to reach immunity
  • Introducing and inviting guests to take the Better Together Community Organization Pledge

Brian D. Pieninck, President and Chief Executive Officer of CareFirst, concluded the event noting this was just the start to many more discussions to take place in the coming months. The foundation of the Better Together campaign is the thought that as community leaders, it is our responsibility to use our resources for the greater good, step forward together when unity is called for, and play a role in this historic national vaccine effort.

As such, Pieninck announced the launch of the Better Together Community Organization Pledge—a call to our community to unite and lead the effort together to leave COVID behind by supporting vaccinations efforts among our respective workforces. On behalf of each organization signing the pledge by March 31, 2021, CareFirst will contribute $1,000 (up to $1M) to directly support the vaccination efforts of several community partners.

The best way for all of us to get better is to do it together, as immunity takes a community. Will you, and your organization take the pledge?

To learn more about CareFirst’s Better Together Community Organization Pledge campaign, read the full press release here or visit our Better Together Community Organization Pledge page.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the CareFirst Coronavirus Resource Center.