‘Essential Workers’ Likely to get Earlier Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

November 25, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce

Last modified November 30, 2020

According to this article by STAT News, essential workers are likely to move ahead of adults 65 and older and people with high-risk medical conditions when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on COVID-19 vaccine priority lists. The intention is to bring many people of color closer to the front of the vaccine priority line — should they want to be vaccinated — in recognition of the fact that the pandemic has disproportionately hit Black and Latino communities.

“These essential workers are out there putting themselves at risk to allow the rest of us to socially distance. And they come from disadvantaged situations, they come from disadvantaged communities,” said Beth Bell, a global health expert from the University of Washington who is on ACIP and chairs its COVID-19 work group studying the vaccines.

Essential workers include people who work in meat packing plants and other food processing facilities, in municipal wastewater management operations, and in transport. It also includes police and firefighters, as well as teachers. The CDC estimates there are roughly 87 million people in jobs designated as essential services.

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