Jointly Written By:
Kevin J. Schreiber, President & CEO, York County Economic Alliance
Ryan Unger, President & CEO, Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC
We are optimistic, glass half full individuals. These past 20 months have certainly tested that optimism. But unquestionably, when you look back at all that we have accomplished as a society to combat the spread and deadliness of COVID-19, that optimism continues to take hold in our region.
The sacrifice made by all is unprecedented. Healthcare workers, to households, our small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. No element of “life as we knew it” was unscathed. Let’s not let that sacrifice be in vain. Thanks to an unprecedented effort by the federal government and our innovative life science and health care community, there is light in this COVID-19 tunnel. That light is provided by the COVID-19 vaccines.
Governor Wolf and the COVID-19 Task Force have done impressive work in making Pennsylvania a national leader in the percentage of adults vaccinated. And while we are making progress, we must accelerate that progress. We all strive for post-covid normalcy, where this virus does not command our daily attention. The tool to achieve this exists – vaccinations.
We understand some conditions may preclude individuals from receiving vaccines, but for the majority to which vaccinations are accessible and safe, we urge utilization.
As leaders of economic development organizations, we work every day to grow our region’s economy. There is recent evidence that low vaccination rates could be holding back that growth we strive for. A recent economic report by Gusto found that states that began the summer with higher vaccination rates exhibited significantly stronger small business job growth though to our most recent federal job report. They observed that a one percentage point increase in the share of adults fully vaccinated increases a state’s small business employment growth by 0.1 percentage points. States that could not slow the spread of COVID-19 consequently saw a correlation of slower job growth as case counts increased. We know what slows the spread of COVID-19, vaccines.
On behalf of our regional economy, our organizations have joined together to encourage our neighbors, friends, and colleagues who may be yet unvaccinated to consider doing so. As well, we’d like to express gratitude to those who have done so to date, and to thank our many business, civic, healthcare, government leaders for their efforts to heighten awareness, educate, and encourage adoption of the vaccine.
This issue has always and will remain larger than any one individual. If we are only ever as strong as our weakest link, it is incumbent upon us all to work collectively to support and uplift others.
If you wish to hasten our recovery, our “return to normal,” if you wish to help our local economy bounce back, please consider a vaccination. If you are an employer, consider incentives or flexibility to help your team members find time to get a shot. While at it, take advantage of the federal Covid-19 Vaccine Tax Credit, which compensates employers for assisting in employee vaccine adoption. In addition to buying local, receiving a vaccine is perhaps the greatest demonstration of support to our economy and small businesses.
We remain in this together. And the South Central Pennsylvania community and economy are inextricably linked. To flex the full muscle of the private sector, to unleash the tidal force of consumer demand, to expedite our recovery, to give our economy a real shot in the arm, please get yours.