How will truckers receive their COVID vaccine?
As the COVID vaccine continues to be rolled out throughout the United States, many in the trucking industry have been wondering when they will be able to receive theirs.
Truckers have played a key role since the start of the pandemic, keeping shelves stocked throughout the country, and as of recently, even transporting the vaccine. Yet, there is still no concrete nationwide plan for how they will receive their immunization.
According to The Wall Street Journal, although transportation workers are considered essential under federal recommendations, many jurisdictions haven’t made truck drivers and other logistics workers eligible.
Because of this, organizations such as the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations have asked the CDC to make vaccinations more accessible to truckers.
“Our members are concerned about how they will gain access to COVID-19 vaccinations while continuing to work,” read the letter that OOIDA sent the CDC. “It will likely be logistically difficult and economically disruptive. Few truckers know precisely where they will be from week to week, making it difficult to return home for shots and often impossible to predict where they may be located when it’s time for a second booster.”
To say the least, finding a way to get truck drivers vaccinated has proved to be quite the conundrum. Not only is there no consistency throughout the country regarding eligibility, but there are also not many accessible sites for them.
Drivers tend to have hectic schedules and can’t just pull up to any parking lot with their trucks, making it difficult for them to schedule a vaccination. One solution that has caught some steam throughout the industry, though, has been making truck stops into vaccine sites.
The solution has support throughout the industry, with a multitude of organizations backing it such as the ATA, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, and the Truckload Carriers Association among others.
The National Association of Truck Stop owners has also offered to use their businesses as vaccination sites.
“Commercial drivers who are unable to access medical services in their home state or while driving a tractor trailer already are accustomed to accessing these service at truckstops and travel centers,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “Designating our network as mobile vaccination sites will ensure efficient vaccinations for the essential truck drivers who deliver America’s needs as well as the employees who serve them.”
It’s perhaps the most realistic option, considering that it ticks almost every box, in terms of being the most accessible. Truckers are already familiar with them, they have access to secure parking, and truck stops provide a site that can vaccinate them by the hundreds.
However, there’s still another issue. While truck stops solve the issue of having a vaccination site, it doesn’t solve the scheduling problem.
Most vaccines that are currently available require two boosters, which can prove to be a problem for truckers who end up in different states from week-to-week.
Folks throughout the industry are hoping that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was approved on Feb. 27 by the FDA, could be the answer to this issue.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single booster, which would work perfectly for truckers, considering how difficult planning can be when delivering loads throughout the country.
Rather than having to stress about scheduling your loads in locations that match your appointment date, truckers can just schedule a single immunization without having to change their entire schedule.
As of now using truck stops as vaccination sites with single boosters is seemingly the best plan, but ultimately, nothing has been finalized. With Phase 1c inching closer, it will be interesting to see how truckers are ultimately able to get vaccinated.
So, what do you think about the proposed vaccination plans for truckers? Let us know in the comments or on social media!