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ATSSA urged CDC to include critical infrastructure workers in next COVID vaccination phase

Despite urging by ATSSA to include road construction workers and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination allocation process, a committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) denied the request.

Instead, after meeting on Sunday, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that Americans who are 75 and older and who live independently be included in the next phase of vaccinations. They voted to place the group deemed as essential critical infrastructure in the following phase.

The committee cited the high death rates among elderly Americans, the current short-supply of the vaccine and the smaller size of the group as compared to the DHS-designated group as the reasons for the recommendation. Frontline workers such as emergency responders and teachers were also included in the next phase.  

ATSSA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner sent a letter to the CDC on Friday urging the committee to include road construction workers and the manufacturers of roadway safety devices and construction machinery in phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination allocation process.

This designation would have grouped these workers into the same pool as others who have been deemed as essential during the pandemic. In March, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released a guidance outlining the importance of these workers, entitled “Advisory Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during COVID-19 Response”.

An additional CISA memorandum was released on Wednesday reaffirming the need for the protection of essential critical infrastructure workers, stating, This guidance is intended to help State, local, tribal, and territorial officials and organizations protect their workers and communities and ensure the continued safe and secure operation of critical infrastructure, by identifying the universe of essential workers that may require specialized risk management strategies so that they can work safely. It can also be used to begin planning and preparing for the allocation of scarce resources used to protect essential workers against COVID-19.”

 

 

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