Health Care

Press Releases

Manufacturers Share Commitment to Vaccination

Requirements Must Be Structured in a Way That Does Not Negatively Impact the Operations of Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – Following President Biden’s speech on new measures to combat COVID-19, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Americans can be grateful to President Trump for ‘Operation Warp Speed’ that enabled the United States to develop the lifesaving vaccines against COVID-19 and to President Biden for his continued focus on getting Americans vaccinated. We share their steadfast focus, and manufacturers have led the way in promoting the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. They are safe and effective vaccines made for us, by people like us—manufacturers in America.

“We look forward to working with the administration to ensure any vaccine requirements are structured in a way that does not negatively impact the operations of manufacturers that have been leading through the pandemic to keep Americans safe. It is important that undue compliance costs do not burden manufacturers, large and small alike.

“Getting all eligible Americans vaccinated will, first and foremost, reduce hospitalizations and save lives. But it is also an economic imperative in that our recovery and quality of life depend on our ability to end this pandemic. This is why the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute continue equipping manufacturers of all sizes with resources to promote vaccination through our ‘This Is Our Shot’ project.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Press Releases

New NAM Report Highlights the Impact and Importance of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Timmons: Pharmaceutical manufacturers are essential to America’s health and well-being and to the success of our economy.

Washington, D.C. – After the publication today of the National Association of Manufacturers’ latest report, Ensuring a Healthy Future: The Impact and Importance of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Pharmaceutical manufacturers are essential to America’s health and well-being and to the success of our economy. They have helped lead our country through crisis, fight the pandemic and drive our recovery. The sector creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the work its quarter of a million employees perform is literally lifesaving, improving society in ways that are almost impossible to overstate.”

The report finds that not only have pharmaceutical manufacturers been pioneers in improving the human condition, but the industry also fuels other sectors of the economy.

According to the report:

  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing directly employs an estimated 267,000 workers in the United States and supports nearly 1.9 million more jobs across the country.
  • One job in the industry helps support six other jobs in the overall workforce.
  • Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing generates nearly $339 billion in output. Further, $1.00 in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing output generates $1.09 in output elsewhere in the economy.
  • For every $1.00 earned by an employee within the industry, $2.42 is earned by others elsewhere in the economy.

“The American public and policymakers too often overlook these accomplishments,” Timmons added. “Traditional economic analysis ignores the way this industry extends and enriches lives, and the public is not fully aware of pharmaceutical manufacturers’ constant focus on innovation and improving the quality of life for everyone. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are always researching, discovering and developing new medicines and treatments, operating at the core of our modern health care system. Their products make it possible for medical professionals to introduce and manage innovative new therapies, and of course, these manufacturers helped create lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, the industry has high economic multipliers that drive production and job creation in other industries.”

Additional Key Findings:

  • A successful pharmaceutical ecosystem requires strong private-sector investment. 
    • In 2019, American pharmaceutical companies invested more than $83 billion in research and development, topping off nearly $1 trillion in R&D investment over the past 20 years. A recent study from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics estimates that the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing sector alone accounts for roughly 17% of total R&D investment in the United States.
    • The pharmaceutical industry invests nearly 11.4% of its sales back into R&D. Indeed, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry invests on average roughly three times more in R&D as a percentage of sales than all other manufacturing industries.
  • The industry creates valuable STEM jobs.
    • While roughly 6.7% of the U.S. workforce has a STEM occupation, 29.9% of all jobs in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing are STEM related. The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector employs more than four times the percentage of STEM workers employed in the overall workforce.
  • Industry employees are highly productive.
    • Industry employees produce $1.3 million in output per employee. This is nearly seven times greater than the U.S. economy’s average output per employee ($188,000).

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.4 million men and women, contributes $2.44 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

ICYMI: NAM’s Jay Timmons Discusses Creators Wanted, COVID-19 Vaccines and Reconciliation on CNBC

Watch Jay Timmons on CNBC

Timmons on Labor Shortages, Creators Wanted Campaign

“Let’s be upfront about it. We have a very severe worker shortage in our country right now. It’s why the NAM has been so focused on our Creators Wanted campaign, to attract that next generation of manufacturing workers, and we are in competition now all across every sector for workers.

“So, if you think about supply chain shortages, why is that happening? Part of it certainly is the pandemic and the ability for trade to move freely, but you also have issues of not enough people at factories producing the component parts that go into finished products. What does that lead to? That leads to higher prices. So, it’s a supply and demand issue. Jim Cramer earlier today talked about a focus on getting this worker shortage under control. He mentioned, for instance, one possibility of helping to deal with this is immigration reform and that he thinks that there is a potential bipartisan solution to that. I believe there is as well. We have been pushing that through our program called A Way Forward at the NAM for a number of years. We think that’s one thing that will help get the economy back and deal with some of these issues.”

Timmons on Separating Infrastructure Investment from the Budget Resolution

“I think it was an extraordinary achievement by the Senate, a bipartisan achievement by Republicans and Democrats to get that bill across the line. We said at the NAM from the start that we would see probably about $1.2 trillion without punishing and archaic tax increases that would take us back to a time when we weren’t able to invest and hire and grow wages like we have for the last three years…We think that this bipartisan solution needs to get across the finish line. This is a very big priority not only for the president, but also for the American people. We know that can get done.

“…the reconciliation package that may be being developed…we have some serious concerns. We will certainly oppose any of the archaic tax increases that have been discussed. We are hearing somewhere between $1.8 and $3.5 trillion on job creators in America. That would take us to where we were before the 2017 tax reforms, where, afterwards, as I said, we were able to have record investment, record job creation, record wage growth. Why would we ever want to undo that? We are watching that very closely. We will oppose the bill with any of those factors in there. We will oppose the pharmaceutical issues that are in those bills that will stop us from being able to deal with the next pandemic. And we are going to oppose the labor provisions that would drive a wedge between management and our workers. There are a lot of things in that bill we don’t like. But infrastructure, BIF as it’s called in Washington speak, needs to get across the line right away. It’s an accomplishment we can all be proud of.”

Timmons on the NAM’s Vaccine Mandates

“I am so proud of the NAM team…We had a…94% vaccine acceptance rate before we imposed the mandate, and since then…we have achieved 100%. And I am thrilled because our team cares about not only themselves and their families, but also the people that we interact with every day—our 14,000 member manufacturers across the country. It’s the responsible thing to do, and I am happy that team NAM came through.

“What I hear from every single CEO that we represent is that their number-one concern is their employees, the health of their employees, the health of their employees’ families and their communities…It’s become political at times, but it doesn’t need to be. The last administration through Operation Warp Speed helped develop a vaccine in just record time with all the safety protocols in place. This administration is executing the vaccinations across the country. It’s a bipartisan effort, a nonpartisan effort, I would say, to make sure that our communities are safe, that our country is safe and the world can return to normal. It’s the only way it’s going to happen—we know that.”

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.4 million men and women, contributes $2.44 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Workforce

A Tour of Manufacturers’ Vaccine Clinics

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What does it look like when manufacturers get vaccinated? For some people across the country, it was just another day at work.

Hundreds of manufacturers nationwide have hosted vaccination events for their own employees, sometimes including family and community members as well. NAM Director of Photography David Bohrer stopped by a few of these events to capture them, while other companies sent the NAM their own pictures. Here are some of those photos—a visual tour of manufacturers’ efforts to keep America safe and healthy.

Calvert, Alabama: Steel and mining company ArcelorMittal held an on-site vaccine clinic at its plant for team members and the local community. If you look closely, you’ll see that one of these employees is holding a pin from the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute’s Yellow and Red Ribbon initiative—a symbol of vaccination that you can wear to show you’ve done your part.

Fremont, California: Below, an employee of ALOM Technologies Corporation, which creates supply chain technology and solutions, gets his shot at the company’s facility. In the background, you can see a poster for This Is Our Shot, the NAM and MI’s effort to help manufacturers across the country get vaccinated.

Perryville, Missouri: More than 150 Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation employees were vaccinated at an on-site clinic set up at the company’s request by the local Perry County Health Department.

In our interview with Gilster-Mary Lee President and CEO Tom Welge back in April, he told us how the tragic death of his father (and former Gilster-Mary Lee CEO) Don Welge from COVID-19 reinforced the company’s commitment to vaccinations. Read more about the company’s efforts here.

Baltimore, Maryland: Marlin Steel Wire Products led a coalition of 81 manufacturing companies in an effort to get vaccine doses for their workers. In the end, the coalition organized 17 events for more than 3,300 employees.

Here’s a photo from a March event for workers from Marlin Steel, Orlando Products and Arnold Packaging. It was hosted at Orlando’s facility, where a team from Safeway administered the shots.

We spoke to Marlin President and Owner Drew Greenblatt back in April about how he organized this effort. Check out the interview here.

 Lafayette, Indiana: At Subaru of Indiana, more than 2,900 vaccinations were delivered across eight clinics held in the facility’s lobby. The clinic was open to all on-site personnel, including vendor and contractor representatives, along with associates’ spouses and eligible kids. Recently, the company transitioned to hosting a weekly vaccine clinic at its on-site Health and Wellness Center.

Join in: If you’re a manufacturer looking to encourage vaccinations among your employees or even host an event yourself, check out the many resources available through the NAM and the MI’s This Is Our Shot project. The most recent addition is an “on-site vaccination clinic toolkit” provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. And don’t forget to wear your yellow and red ribbon pin!

Policy and Legal

Manufacturers Donate Supplies to Fight COVID-19 in India

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As India struggles with COVID-19, manufacturers across the United States have stepped up to offer assistance and material aid.

The situation: India is grappling with a dangerous and extremely transmissible form of COVID-19, even as the country has struggled to inoculate large swaths of its population. As a result, hospitals across the country are straining to fulfill critical needs, and the situation has become dire.

The support: Many manufacturers have announced that they will provide critical assistance to response efforts in India, including the following:

  • Raytheon Technologies donated four mobile oxygen trucks, working with the Indian Red Cross to get them to Delhi.
  • Deere donated $2.7 million to provide urgent medical resources and health care infrastructure, working with United Way Mumbai.
  • Pfizer sent $70 million worth of COVID-19 treatment medicines directly to India/Indian government to help fight the disease.
  • Lilly donated 400,000 tablets of key medicine used to treat severe COVID-19 patients—and made new voluntary agreements to ramp up local manufacturing and distribution in India.
  • UPS donated $1 million to India to fight COVID-19.
  • FedEx is donating critical supplies to India and has donated $4 million to help nonprofit organizations reach underserved communities get COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Samsung is importing 1 million Low Dead Space (LDS) syringes, which minimize the amount of drug left in the syringes after an injection.
  • Boeing created a $10 million emergency assistance package for India to support the country’s response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • LyondellBasell is donating $100,000 to the U.S. India Friendship Alliance to help the organization provide 250 oxygen concentrators to India’s hospitals and medical facilities.

In related news, the United States will donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to the world, according to Reuters (subscription). The donations will be distributed this year and over the first half of next year to 92 lower-income countries and the African Union, via the COVAX vaccine program spearheaded by the World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. The White House has also pledged additional direct aid to India, which is detailed here.

  • The NAM has praised these efforts to accelerate vaccinations in India and the rest of the world, calling them a “powerful, effective way to improve vaccine access,” while preserving critical IP protections that made that innovation possible.

What we’re saying: “Manufacturers are deeply committed to the fight against COVID-19 in our communities, including here in the United States, in India and around the world,” said NAM Director of International Business Policy Ryan Ong. “The NAM is working directly with members and with partners like Good360 and SBP to provide critical relief where it is mostly badly needed and to help us all respond and recover from COVID-19 as we work toward a better post-pandemic world.”

Policy and Legal

How to Talk to Vaccine-Hesitant Workers

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Now that all American adults are eligible for vaccination and largely have easy access to vaccines, it’s even more important to convince those still on the fence about getting their shots. To help manufacturers convince their hesitating employees, The Manufacturing Institute has partnered, as a part of the “This Is Our Shot” project, with the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida on a research study about hesitancy and how manufacturers can overcome it.

The big idea: The study aimed to identify strategies that manufacturers can use to increase vaccine confidence among their teams, according to Matt Sheehan and Annie Neimand, managing director and research director, respectively, at the Center. It took a wide-ranging approach, applying social science to this public health problem and looking for evidence-based strategies that employers could put into practice right away.

Why it matters: According to the team, vaccine hesitancy can be driven by a range of factors, including a lack of access to vaccination opportunities, uncertainty about the process of getting inoculated or incorrect or confusing information. Those different motivations can be countered by different approaches, the researchers advise. Understanding where people are coming from makes it easier to give them the support they need.

What we learned: The study arrived at five steps that will help encourage manufacturing workers to get vaccinated:

  • Communicate from a place of trust. To be effective, manufacturing leaders should communicate frequently and transparently about vaccination policies and vaccination rates within the facility. Vaccination goals, too, should be focused on the facility.
  • Help remove barriers to getting the vaccine. Employers should make it easy to obtain the vaccine and make employees feel supported in their decision to get it. That may mean communicating in languages that their workforce uses, helping employees make vaccination appointments as needed and offering time off for employees to recover if they have significant side effects after the vaccine.
  • Highlight trusted messengers. Lots of vaccine skeptics are also skeptical of outsiders, so employers should enlist trusted local authorities, civic leaders and peer influencers to disseminate information.
  • Customize tactics to appeal to the community. There is no one-size-fits-all message, and it’s important to reach people who come from different backgrounds and have different ideologies. For some people, it’s important to talk about reaching herd immunity or protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. For others, it’s more effective to talk about the vaccines’ role in protecting their own families and loved ones, or even themselves.
  • Address fears at an individual level. Reacting to hesitancy with negativity, or suggesting that all people who are concerned about vaccines are the same, will only increase hesitancy. Instead, listen to individual concerns, and guide people to a useful solution.

Point of emphasis: “It’s important that we listen more than we talk,” said Sheehan. “That’s what’s going to get us to the point where we reach some of these hesitant groups. We need to help solve problems rather than impart information…. If we can listen and hear and alleviate concerns and fix barriers, we’re going to see much more success.”

What’s next: The MI and the Center for Public Interest Communications are preparing to release additional research findings and a new communications guide later this month, to bolster manufacturers’ efforts to get the remainder of their teams and communities vaccinated. Stay up to date on all the latest “This Is Our Shot” project resources at NAM.org/ThisIsOurShot.

Press Releases

Manufacturers React to President Biden’s First Speech to Congress

Timmons: “Manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world.”

Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s first presidential address to Congress, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:

“Thanks to the leadership of vaccine manufacturers and the Biden administration’s successful vaccine distribution efforts, Americans are getting back to the activities and the people they love. Though the capacity limits in the House chamber tonight remind us that we still have a long way to go, our future is looking brighter.

“We look forward to working with President Biden to achieve historic infrastructure investment, including the many priorities offered in our ‘Building to Win’ plan, which, in addition to identifying areas of investment, also provides multiple funding solutions.

“Manufacturers have also provided roadmaps on critical issues ranging from immigration to climate change. We’re ready to work with President Biden and members of any party to deliver bipartisan progress on these issues and more, all while ensuring we’re strengthening the manufacturing workforce, not jeopardizing manufacturing growth in the United States.

“To that point, raising taxes on manufacturers—including many small businesses that pay at the individual rate—would stop our recovery in its tracks; we would lose 1 million jobs in just the first two years alone. Small manufacturers would be especially hard hit at this critical juncture, restricting their ability to raise wages and benefits, hire more workers and invest in their communities. Similarly, changes to the longstanding tax rules on the transfer of family businesses to the next generation of manufacturers would cost American jobs.

“Returning to archaic tax policies and one of the highest business tax rates in the developed world is not the way to build our future, nor are federal policies to force workers to join a union. Anti-worker policies like the PRO Act would inject uncertainty by driving a wedge in established employee–employer relationships and curtail future manufacturing investments that support our communities and families.

“As we continue to get armed against COVID-19, manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world—one that affords even greater opportunity for all Americans.”

Background:

The NAM continues to put forward commonsense proposals to educate and inform policymakers on ways to strengthen manufacturing in America while achieving our shared objectives.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Continue to Step Up to Get America Vaccinated

Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s call to employers across America to do everything they can to help their employees—and their communities—get vaccinated, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Vaccines are how we get armed against COVID-19, protect our loved ones, grow our economy and get back to the moments we miss. The hard work and innovation of America’s pharmaceutical manufacturers, coupled with the Biden administration’s laser focus on vaccine distribution and the dedication of local vaccination teams across the country, have enabled the administration to double its lofty goal set for the first 100 days.”

President Biden announced that he expects the nation to have administered 200 million shots within his first 100 days. He called on every employer in America to offer full pay to their employees for any time off needed to get vaccinated and announced a paid leave tax credit that will offset the cost for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

Timmons added, “Manufacturers remain absolutely committed to helping our teams get safely vaccinated. Through our ‘This Is Our Shot’ project, we’re making resources available to answer questions and share the facts about how these vaccines are safe and effective and have reached more than 2.25 million people to date. Additionally, many manufacturers have supported vaccination by giving employees time off to get vaccinated. With a new tax credit, it will be even easier for manufacturers and all employers to offer this option. This is our shot to finally end this pandemic, so we’re going to keep working with the administration, state and local leaders and our member companies to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Background on “This Is Our Shot”:

Launched earlier this year, the project, live at NAM.org/ThisIsOurShot, includes six main components: (1) science-based messaging research; (2) emergency industry convening and education, such as webinars; (3) an online vaccine information hub; (4) a PSA campaign; (5) the Yellow and Red Ribbon Initiative (for vaccinated individuals to show their peers they’re a part of the fight); and (6) a rapid response media and digital campaign. Resources available on the webpage are updated regularly, providing the latest information and tools for vaccine outreach and access.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.33 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Business Operations

How to Talk to Employees About Vaccines

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As the U.S. vaccine rollout expands to nearly all adults, manufacturers are figuring out how to encourage workers to be vaccinated. To help them, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute are providing resources and advice through their This Is Our Shot project. Most recently, the project hosted a webinar to help employers frame conversations about vaccines, called Employer COVID-19 Vaccine Communications: Do’s and Don’ts. Here are some of the highlights.

The participants: The webinar was hosted by NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas, the NAM lead of the This Is Our Shot project. It featured Ann Searight Christiano, director of the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida, and Jack Barry, a postdoctoral research associate for the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications.

Why communication matters: “The vaccines are becoming widely available and so people are really at a point where they no longer have to wait. It’s time,” said Christiano. “But as employers, you have a great deal of influence and trust with your employees and are well positioned to help build their trust and encourage them to get those vaccines.”

What to think about when you talk about vaccines: According to Christiano and Barry, there are eight factors to think about when developing vaccine communications: worldviews, timing, messengers, narratives, relationships, social norms, emotions and motivations. Christiano and Barry recommend taking people as they are—and responding to their particular identities and values.

Think about who and when: The timing and the messengers are extremely important. National health professionals are far more trusted on pandemic advice than celebrities, for example. People generally want messengers from their own communities, too. Think of the “influencers” in your workplaces—the respected leaders, the trusted employees—and consider using them in your campaigns, say Christiano and Barry.

The message itself: Use specifics to show how important it is to get vaccinated, such as that vaccines allow you to travel or hug your grandparents. And use the themes of choice, regret and control—often cited by vaccine hesitators—and frame them in a positive way to increase vaccine uptake.

Things to avoid: Don’t amplify people’s concerns and avoid appeals to unpleasant emotions like shame and fear, the researchers advise. Consider instead using pleasant emotions like pride, joy and parental love. Consider the motivations of the messenger, too. Be transparent and honest about why you want people to get vaccinated.

The last word: “Our role is to help all manufacturers get fact- and science-based information to safeguard workplaces and communities and to help end this pandemic. We’ll continue hosting webinars, curating the most effective tools available and deploying other research-proven resources at NAM.org/ThisIsOurShot,” says Kefalas.

For more details on how to create communications for your employees, check out the whole presentation here.

Business Operations

For One Manufacturer, Vaccination Is a Personal Cause

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At Gilster-Mary Lee Corporation—a food manufacturer headquartered in Chester, Illinois—the impact of COVID-19 is deeply personal. In April 2020, their CEO, Don Welge, passed away due to the virus.

“It was a time when there was not a lot known about the virus,” said CEO Tom Welge, who is Don’s son. “He was very much the spirit of the company, and we found ourselves without him at a time when demand was blowing up for groceries as everybody began staying home and the supply chain was starting to be disrupted. It was a very challenging year, and we were without our captain.”

A year later, that heartbreaking experience has made Welge especially supportive of the nationwide vaccination campaign and motivated to get his company’s workers vaccinated. He spoke to us recently about Gilster-Mary Lee’s methods for overcoming vaccine hesitancy and its efforts to run its own vaccine clinics.

Reducing vaccine hesitancy: The company is taking a multistep approach to help employees become comfortable with vaccination—from disseminating the NAM’s materials and fact sheets to coordinating with state and local health associations to creating its own informational products. But the most critical piece, according to Welge, is communication.

  • “Probably the most important thing is consistent messaging and conversations,” said Welge. “We engaged our managers to make sure they were on board, and then we asked them to go out and evangelize the teams that they work with.”

Open engagement: “You’ve got to be open to answering questions that people have about the vaccine, and not belittle any questions that are brought to you,” said Welge. “At the end of the day, it’s still a decision that an individual has to make—and all we can do is point out all the advantages.”

Vaccination stations: Gilster-Mary Lee isn’t only encouraging its employees to receive the vaccine; the company is also bringing the vaccine directly to them by setting up vaccination clinics at its facilities—a process that was no small feat.

  • “You make a lot of calls—you find the right person to talk to at a health care agency or a pharmacy and have a friendly conversation,” said Welge. “We are all aligned on what the mission is: we want to get as many doses to as many people as possible. If you show that you are somebody who will do whatever it takes to make this work, they’ll say let’s work with these guys.”

Pictures at a vaccination: NAM Director of Photography David Bohrer captured one of Gilster-Mary Lee’s vaccination events on April 1. The county health department sent over staff to give the Moderna vaccine to more than 150 workers at the company’s Perryville, Missouri, facility.

Here is Perry County Registered Nurse Amy Hector filling a shot from a vaccine vial:

Workers who are coming off an overnight shift or starting their day shift get vaccinated:

A nurse wears a pro-vaccine shirt in the picture below—sending the right message!

And last, getting your first vaccine dose is definitely worth smiling about. Here’s Gilster-Mary Lee employee Claudia Bohnert showing off a new Band-Aid where she received her first shot.

The bottom line: Welge is adamant in his support of vaccinations. As he puts it—and tells his employees—“This is a decision that protects you, protects your family and protects your coworkers.”

Timmons says: NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said about Welge’s efforts, “Having lost my father to COVID-19, I know what the Welge family has endured. And I know how it strengthens your resolve to see everyone get vaccinated. No one should have to feel the immense pain of losing a loved one to COVID-19. And thankfully, now with the vaccines, we can protect all of our loved ones.”

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