CDC recommends essential workers like teachers, farmers in next vaccine group

Olivia Sandusky

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control’s advisory panel voted on who will be included in group 1b for coronavirus vaccinations.

Their recommendation: people 75 and older and front-line essential workers.

Currently, the nation is administering the vaccine to people in phase 1a, that’s front-line healthcare workers and nursing home residents.

Essential workers in 1b include firefighters, police officers, teachers, grocery store workers, agriculture workers and postal workers to name a few.

After that is phase 1c, which includes people between the ages of 65 and 75, and people with high-risk medical conditions.

Other essential workers like people in food services, transportation, communications and construction workers will also be included.

In California, the state’s Community Vaccine Advisory Committee recently held its fourth meeting to discuss the local distribution order.

CVAC provides input and feedback to the planning efforts and tries to resolve barriers to vaccine implementation.

Diana Tellefson Torres, the executive director of UFW Foundations, was part of the state’s meeting.

She says she wants to shed light on the issues the vulnerable farming community faces when it comes to vaccinations.

“They’re a largely uninsured population, and 13 percent of workers who we surveyed said that they have never been to a doctor,’ said Tellefson Torres.

Widespread vaccinations among this group will be a challenge, and now that farm workers have been named a 1b priority by the CDC, Diana says the next step is to develop a distribution plan.

“They tend to be in rural, more isolated areas outside of urban areas, and so we need a mobile strategy where we work together with community based organizations and state public health officials to make sure that as many people as possible are able to have access,” said Tellefson Torres. 

As case numbers continue to rise among the farming community, timing is critical.

“We’re certainly hoping that phase 1b is included within the winter time, potentially spring. So, the sooner the better,” said Tellefson Torres. 

CVAC will meet next on Dec. 23 to further discuss vaccination orders, and how sectors may be prioritized further.

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