SWANA urges CDC to identify waste & recycling workers as frontline essential for COVID-19 vaccine
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to include solid waste and recycling industry workers as Phase 1(b) COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
The ACIP has already recommended frontline essential workers as a priority group for the next round of vaccine distributions. SWANA's comments reminded ACIP that inclusion of waste and recycling workers will protect public health and the environment and ensure the uninterrupted continuation of other critical infrastructure work.
"We welcome the CDC's identification of frontline essential workers as part of phase 1(b) in its vaccine distribution plan," stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director & CEO. "SWANA's comments today urge the CDC to explicitly identify solid waste and recycling workers, who in some communities are largely comprised of persons of colour, in that group."
SWANA's comments reiterated the importance of solid waste and recycling workers to protecting public health and the environment throughout the United States. States are expected to incorporate the CDC's guidance in finalizing their plans for distributing the COVID-19 vaccines to essential workers and others.
ACIP held a weekend meeting on December 18-19 to consider how to prioritize vaccine distribution. SWANA was favourably mentioned during the public comment period by a waste industry representative.
SWANA's comments were also sent to congressional leaders, National Governors Association Chair Larry Hogan, and a key official in the Biden transition team.