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Commercial truck drivers should be a priority population for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Authors
  • Lemke, Michael K1
  • 1 Department of Social Sciences, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston, Texas, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2021
Volume
64
Issue
3
Pages
217–219
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/ajim.23220
PMID: 33423278
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, supply is expected to initially fall short of demand. In response, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has issued guidance on which groups should be prioritized to receive vaccines. For the first phase of vaccine allocation, the ACIP recommended healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents as recipients. This recommendation was based on risks endemic to these populations, as well as ethical principles related to benefits and harms, mitigating health inequalities, and promoting justice. Commercial truck drivers have played a vital and underappreciated role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the indispensable role that commercial drivers play in distributing vaccines, they have not been recommended for vaccine allocation in the next phase (1b) by the ACIP. However, the rationale and ethical principles cited for the first vaccine phase suggest that these workers should be recommended for inclusion. By doing so, the acquisition and transmission of COVID-19 may be mitigated, which would benefit both these workers and the US public. Further, persistent vulnerabilities render commercial truck drivers susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection; therefore, vaccination during the next phase is imperative to curb the exacerbation of extant health inequities. Finally, because present-day COVID-19 vulnerabilities in these workers have been shaped by unjust policies over the past several decades, and because COVID-19 public health policies have excluded and potentially exacerbated the impacts of the pandemic for these workers, allocating vaccines to commercial truck drivers is a necessary step toward promoting justice. © 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

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