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BlueCross offers grants to aid state's vaccinations

Tennessee's biggest health insurer is offering aid to help spread vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus across the state.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Chattanooga-based insurance giant, said Wednesday it will award up to $1.7 million in grants to help Tennessee communities promote and support COVID-19 vaccinations.

"Heightened hygiene protocols, such as social distancing and wearing masks, play an important role in the fight against coronavirus, but adding the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine will help us win the fight," said Dr. Andrea Willis, chief medical officer for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. "As it becomes more widely available, it will be critical that Tennesseans get vaccinated as efficiently as possible."

The program is designed to provide funding to leverage local knowledge, expertise, resources and relationships to increase vaccinations within communities. Civic organizations, governmental entities and non-profits can submit proposals for funding immediately at BCBSTUpdates.com/COVID-RFP.

The Foundation will prioritize proposals within Tennessee that involve community coalitions and regional partners and programs with specific outreach to communities of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

 

IPhone and iPad update needed for security fix

Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to update their devices to fix security flaws that might have been "actively exploited" by hackers.

Apple made the software upgrades available Tuesday, adding a rare note suggesting it was a serious threat.

The company credited anonymous researchers for pointing out the vulnerability but provided little details about the nature of the threat.

The company said one of the vulnerabilities affects the "kernel," the nerve center of Apple's operating system, iOS. Two others affect WebKit, the web browser engine used by Safari and other apps.

The upgrade is for several generations of devices, starting with the iPhone 6.

 

Walgreen's CEO only Fortune 500 Black woman

Roz Brewer, a 1984 graduate of Spelman College, has been tapped as the new CEO of Walgreens, making her the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.

She will take over the Deerfield, Illinois-based pharmacy chain, which employs more than 450,000 people and has more than 21,000 stores globally, on March 15.

"I step into this role with great optimism for the future," Brewer said in a statement.

Brewer, who also chairs the Spelman College Board of Trustees, had been the chief operating officer of Starbucks since 2018.

"Her path through excellence is a perfect example of how the Spelman experience lays the foundation for a lifetime," said Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell in a letter to the college community. "Roz Brewer is one link in a long chain of wondrous Spelman women."

Brewer succeeds Stefano Pessina, who served as CEO for six years following the merger between Walgreens and Alliance Boots in 2014. Pessina will transition to executive chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.'s board.

 

GM, Navistar to offer hydrogen trucks by 2024

In about three years, Navistar plans to start selling low-emission hydrogen-powered heavy trucks under a partnership with General Motors and a small distribution company called OneH2.

The venture announced Wednesday is an early commercial deployment of the technology in U.S. long-haul trucking. Navistar hopes it will start widespread use of hydrogen-electric trucks, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning diesel fuel.

GM will provide fuel cell "power cubes" to Navistar, while OneH2 will set up fueling stations either by trucking hydrogen to terminals or through small hydrogen generation units, the companies said in a statement.

Trucking company J.B Hunt will use test trucks in a pilot program starting toward the end of next year. Navistar says its trucks will be able to go more than 500 miles on a single charge and can be refueled in less than 15 minutes.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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