December 21, 2020

Keeping Up On State Vaccine Distribution Plans

Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met to determine which groups of individuals should get the COVID-19 vaccine after frontline healthcare workers. In a 13-1 vote on Sunday, the panel recommended that states put “frontline essential workers” and people 75 years of age and older next in line to be eligible to receive one of the two vaccines that are now approved. (Click here to see all ACIP’s guidance.)

The term “frontline essential worker” includes:

  • Manufacturing workers;
  • Firefighters, police officers, teachers and corrections officers;
  • Teachers and educational staff, including daycare workers;
  • Food and agricultural workers;
  • U.S. postal service employees; and
  • Public transit workers and grocery store workers.

According to CNBC, these groups encompass about 49 million U.S. workers, or nearly 15 percent of Americans. As a reminder, these recommendations are mere guidelines. It will be up to each U.S. state to determine who actually will be next in line to receive a vaccine.

To help states in their decisions, and to help the public keep track of states’ individual determinations, the National Governors Association, the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, and the COVID Collaborative recently released a qualitative analysis of all publicly available state and territorial COVID-19 vaccination plans released as of the date of this publication. That report can be found here.

There are several other resources for employers tracking vaccine distribution issues, including:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ vaccine distribution information page, available here.
  • The National Association of Counties, which has a link to all state vaccine distribution plans.
  • USA Today, which also is providing up to the minutes links and information about state distributions plans.

Employers are urged to contact their local and state officials to discuss these plans and why it is important that the industrial metals workforce receive the vaccine as soon as possible.