The creation of several safe and effective vaccines within a single year is historic. But what can we expect to happen next? NAM Vice President of Infrastructure, Innovation and Human Resources Policy Robyn Boerstling spoke to us about the vaccine rollout—and what this achievement tells us about the state of American public policy.
What’s next: For Pfizer and Moderna, the next step is to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization. In fact, Pfizer is set to do so today, though the approval process is likely to take a few weeks.
The vaccine manufacturers are also focusing on the rollout process.
- That includes not only mass production, but also mass distribution across 64 jurisdictions that include every state, territory and tribal nation in the United States.
- Those jurisdictions have submitted plans to the Department of Health and Human Services for consideration, and manufacturers will work with all governments to make the process go smoothly.
How they’ll do it: In some cases, this will involve a public–private partnership with manufacturers through Operation Warp Speed, which will help distribute kits that include needles, vials, alcohol wipes and other important elements.
- It will also involve a system for ordering and tracking vaccines that allows the federal government to keep tabs on who is getting the vaccine and when.
- Some vaccines require two doses, which means that coordination is especially key—local governments and manufacturers must ensure that patients can get a second dose at the right time.
It takes a village: Boerstling emphasized that the vaccines’ development relied not just on a few pharmaceutical companies, but on many manufacturers—as well as an ecosystem that supports innovation, collaboration and discovery.
- “The fact that our biopharmaceutical manufacturing community had the platforms to do what it has accomplished in a very short time is nothing short of amazing,” said Boerstling.
- “But given the expertise, research and development investment, access to capital and all the things that make our industry competitive in the United States, it’s also something that we can expect in this ecosystem. It’s a testament to our ability to mobilize quickly and create progress.”
The bottom line: Most importantly, Boerstling emphasizes, vaccines protect us against this virus—and manufacturers must get the word out. “Vaccines work,” she says. “They protect Americans from adverse health events. And COVID-19 is the most adverse health event in our lifetime.”
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced today that it will offer an association health plan to its members, extending affordable health care to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies and member associations in approved states. In states where the association health plan is not available, the NAM will connect manufacturers with available small-group options in their state.
“This association health plan is another step in our work to make the NAM a one-stop shop for manufacturing across the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “With small and medium-sized businesses making up more than 90 percent of our membership, this plan will help provide health care and reduce uncertainty for workers and their employers across the country.”
The plan, called NAM Health Care (www.namhealthcare.com), was developed to meet manufacturers’ unique health care needs. It will offer a portfolio of health benefits options insured by UnitedHealthcare. In states where these plans are available, businesses with 2 to 99 employees will be able to choose from a variety of PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) and HSA (Health Savings Account) health plans. Members will also have access to UnitedHealthcare’s Choice Plus care provider network of more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare will work with any licensed or appointed agents who want to sell NAM Health Care.
In addition, Mercer will provide the NAM’s small business members with consulting services regarding health benefits offerings and contribution strategies, marketing support to educate and enroll their employees, plan administration and compliance services. The Mercer Affinity 365+sm platform will provide members technology for quoting, enrollment and ongoing benefits administration to drive cost efficiencies and facilitate employee engagement.
Association health plans allow companies to band together to manage and purchase health care coverage that may save on annual health insurance costs by providing plans that are typically enjoyed by larger companies at a competitive price. Under NAM Health Care, eligible member companies also will have access to supplemental benefits, including dental, vision and life.
“The work that manufacturers are doing every day grows the economy and strengthens our country, and they deserve the health care they need to do that job with certainty and support,” said Timmons. “At the NAM, we are proud to help lower costs and increase competitive health coverage for the men and women who make things in America.”
NAM Health Care is quoting these plans for eligible member groups for a Sept. 1, 2019, enrollment date. To enroll in these plans, where available, interested businesses may visit www.namhealthcare.com.