Foodservice employees, including those in restaurants, have been prioritized as “other essential workers” and included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation for early COVID-19 vaccinations.
While not providing a timeline for when foodservice workers could get the coronavirus vaccinations, for which two separate companies have received early use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices over the weekend recommended they be included in round 1c of vaccine distribution.
Residents of long-term care facilities and healthcare workers are in round 1a and people 75 and older and frontline essential workers (such as first responders, teachers, postal and public transit employees and grocery workers) are in round 1b.
Those 1b frontline essential workers, according to the CDC, total about 30 million people and the 1c other essential workers, which include foodservice employees, total about 57 million, according to a committee presentation released over the weekend. About 21 million U.S. residents are 75 and older, and they are in the 1b category.
The CDC plan is a recommendation for states, which determined their own vaccine rollout plans.
The National Restaurant Association, in its industry “Blueprint for Revival” that was issued in July, called for prioritizing vaccine distribution to food supply chain employees (after health care, first responders and vulnerable populations) “to help the entire food and restaurant industry continue growing, selling and serving healthy food even in times of crisis.”
Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance for employers on making the COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory in the workplace.
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