Recently, the American Trucking Association (ATA) called on policymakers across the government, asking that the trucking industry members receive priority for the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, there are two approved vaccines, with two more expected for release in the coming months.
ATA sent letters to President Joe Biden, the former Trump Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the National Governors Association, focusing on the trucking industry’s essential role and the professionals who move the trucks.
The trucking industry is called on to deliver necessary supplies across the country and the vaccines. Therefore, the ATA argues that truck drivers must receive priority access to the vaccine to reduce the risk for supply chain delays and further disruptions, such as putting truckers in harm’s way with the virus itself. This has caused concern in the role of healthcare costs, determining whether trucking insurance covers illnesses to drivers, and delays due to a surge in demand.
Since the pandemic began, the trucking industry has played a crucial role throughout all phases of the response effort, providing direct support to workers of every category along the front line, including healthcare professionals, first responders, grocery stores, pharmacies, and more. Letters from the ATA cite that nearly 80 percent of U.S. communities rely on trucks to receive their necessary goods, and with the virus being driven from state to state, this reliance is even more critical.
Following a federal advisory board meeting this past December, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics personnel, became part of the third group recommended to receive the COVID vaccine, only behind other frontline workers. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) placed truckers in Phase 1c, based on the group wanting to find a balance between preventing deaths and preserving a functioning industry.
The first group, Phase 1a, are people in long-term care facilities and healthcare personnel. This group began receiving immunizations last month, and some are on to their second doses. Group 1b consists of people over the age of 75 and other frontline essential workers. The third group includes truck drivers and people over 16 with high-risk medical conditions and other essential workers.
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