When Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson rolled out the first COVID-19 vaccines in December, most of us breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that vaccines would be offered in stages, and we expected senior citizens, high-risk individuals, and essential workers to be given first priority. (As they should!) What we didn’t expect was that truck drivers would come almost last.
The CDC has broken vaccine recommendations into three phases. Phase 1A includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B includes people over 75 and frontline essential workers. The last phase, Phase 1C includes people between 65-75, people under 65 with elevated risk, and other essential workers. For now, truck drivers are considered other essential workers, falling into the last phase of early vaccine rollouts.
In a world reliant on truck drivers, they are frontline essential workers.
When the initial lockdown took place last March, we turned to services like Amazon Fresh to deliver groceries and essentials. For some, it was a precaution. For high-risk individuals and older folks living alone, it was the only safe option.
Much like healthcare workers and grocery store employees, truck drivers didn’t have the option of safely sitting out the pandemic from home. Unlike Target cashiers, however, truck drivers aren’t considered frontline workers.
It’s not up for debate that healthcare workers who treat COVID-19 patients daily should take priority, alongside our most at-risk, elderly citizens. But when truck drivers are responsible for stocking the grocery store shelves and, in some cases, delivering it directly to consumers, shouldn’t they be able to get the vaccine, too?
Truck drivers are less likely to contract or spread the virus than someone who spends the entire day interacting with customers, but they’re still at elevated risk compared to the general population. They travel from stop to stop, interacting with multiple people per day. We take every precaution we can, but for truck drivers, “safer at home” was never really an option.
Truck driver vaccination policies vary by state.
The CDC recommendations are just guidelines. Each state can rollout the vaccine at its own discretion. Because of that, some truckers are already eligible for the vaccine. In other areas, it’s still a ways off. California, unfortunately, has yet to indicate when truck drivers will be eligible.
While we completely agree that vaccines should be given first to those who are at the highest risk of contracting it, spreading it, or losing their lives from it, drivers should at least appear on the list.
At BYX, the health and safety of our drivers and customers are our top priority. We’re eagerly awaiting vaccination updates, and we look forward to the day when our drivers are eligible.