The Southern California Leadership Council’s Statement on the Vital Necessity of Accelerating and Increasing COVID-19 Vaccinations

October 13th, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into a second year, the Southern California Leadership Council encourages both the private and public sectors to take bold collective action to protect the health and well-being of our communities by supporting proactive measures to expeditiously vaccinate as many people as possible. 

 

The third surge in the winter of 2020-2021 severely tested Southern California communities, nearly overwhelming our health care system and health care workers, whose continued heroic efforts we recognize with profound gratitude.  As the case rates steadily dropped and vaccines became more abundant, optimism rose about getting past this pandemic.

However, the most recent COVID-19 surge (the fourth in 18 months), fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant, provided a sobering reminder that complacency about vaccination will tragically result in ongoing preventable serious illness, hospitalization, and death.





After 10 months of experience with the COVID-19 vaccines, it is abundantly clear that they are safe and highly effective as the vast majority of people with the worst outcomes from COVID-19 are unvaccinated.  If high rates of community transmission continue, there will be further mutation of the virus to possibly more dangerous variants with resulting surges.

Breaking this cycle of recurring COVID-19 surges is critical to public health and safety, to the education of our children, to the social bonds of our communities, to the vibrancy of our economy, and to our Southern California way of life.  At this time, vaccinating our communities is the surest path to achieving this goal.

 

Therefore, the Southern California Leadership Council:

 

  • Supports the actions of federal, state, and local governments to require their employees and contractors to get vaccinated with appropriate medical and religious exemptions. However, we encourage the long-term implementation of such requirements be developed via the legislative process to allow for thoughtful consideration of legitimate interests.


  • Encourages private businesses and organizations in California to educate and incentivize their workforce to get vaccinated, allowing for appropriate medical and religious exemptions and testing alternatives for exempted persons, regardless of whether a federal, state, or local mandate applies to them.


  • Promotes the idea that if we do not see an acceptable level of vaccination in California by January 2022, then we support Legislative debate on the best approaches for vaccine requirements.


  • Encourages federal, state, and local government to partner with private businesses to help provide the tools and other incentives that have been shown to help motivate employees to get vaccinated. In particular, we recommend businesses strongly consider the top three incentives that unvaccinated employees have indicated would motivate them, which are cash incentives or bonuses, time off to get the vaccine, and time off if they experience vaccine side effects.


  • Encourages private businesses and organizations to actively help their workforce overcome fear and hesitancy about the vaccine by making publicly available educational materials accessible.


  • Encourages local governments to develop reasonable measures for proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test as a condition of entry into certain indoor venues where appropriate, and crowded outdoor settings where there is a higher risk of transmission, allowing for reasonable time frames and technical assistance for implementation.


  • Encourages all eligible people to get vaccinated and to continue to follow public health guidance on preventing transmission of COVID-19.

 

Ultimately, ending the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge not only for science and medicine.  It requires all of us to listen to each other and summon a sense of common purpose and collective responsibility to do what it takes to care for each other.

 

 

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