Truck drivers and other transportation workers deemed “essential” by the U.S. government could be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if supplies are limited.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explained in a recent update that the agency is making COVID-19 vaccination recommendations for the U.S. based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of public health experts within the CDC.
“If the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine, ACIP will quickly hold a public meeting to review all available data about that vaccine,” according to the update. “From these data, ACIP will then vote on whether to recommend the vaccine and, if so, who should receive it.” Recommendations must be approved by the director of CDC before becoming official CDC policy.
Included in ACIP’s recommendations, CDC noted, will be guidance on who should receive COVID-19 vaccines in the case of limited supplies. ACIP is considering four groups to possibly recommend for early COVID-19 vaccination: health care personnel, those with underlying medical conditions, people over 65, and workers in essential and critical industries.
Among those defined by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency as essential are truck drivers, warehouse operators, ship crews, air cargo workers and U.S. Postal Service workers.
“Workers in essential and critical industries are considered part of America’s critical infrastructure,” CDC noted. “Current data show that many of these workers are at increased risk for getting COVID-19. Early vaccine access is critical not only to protect them but also to maintain the essential services they provide U.S. communities.”
With vaccine candidates recently emerging from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ: MRNA) for emergency review by the FDA, vaccine distribution could begin as early as early as December. FDA said it is reviewing requests “as expeditiously as possible, while still doing so in a thorough and science-based manner, so that we can help make available a vaccine that the American people deserve as soon as possible.”
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