NATSO, along with the National Association of Convenience Stores, Energy Marketers of America, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, urged the Department of Health and Human Services to consider the interdependent nature of essential workers as it determines the next round of vaccination priorities.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, NATSO said that our industry interacts with a broad array of essential workers, including health care workers, first responders and truck drivers, without whom food and vaccines could not get to the people who need them.
“Just like our industry’s workers depend upon all of these other essential workers to protect their well-being, every frontline worker needs our industry ensuring there is fuel and other goods to make sure they can get to and do their jobs,” the groups wrote.
NATSO along with industry trade groups representing fuel retailers in November urged the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that federal priorities are followed throughout the vaccine distribution chain and prioritize employees of essential businesses after health care workers when a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. NATSO said that essential workers of businesses that are part of the critical infrastructure workforce should receive a vaccine as part of Phase 1-B of a jurisdiction’s distribution scheme. Phase 1-B would follow behind only those healthcare personnel who are grouped into Phase 1-A.
Truckstop workers and commercial truck drivers are included on the list of “essential critical infrastructure workers” by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in its “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.”
In its Dec. 17 letter the groups said, “As you consider who to include in Phase 1-B of the vaccine distribution plan, then, we strongly urge you to keep in mind the interdependence of essential workers in our industry and others. We need a critical number of essential workers across many sectors to ensure that we can all get through this crisis together.”
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