Since the beginning of the pandemic, truck drivers have been crucial in supporting the front lines, and their crucial role has grown even more important with the rollout of the first COVID vaccine early last week. However, while citizens of the United States have welcomed the sight of semis carrying the long-awaited vaccine, truck drivers have doubts about receiving the drug themselves.
Many American healthcare workers already been administered the COVID-19 vaccine, and truck drivers could be next in line, but do they really want to receive the shot? To answer this question, CDLLife took to the CDLLife App to speak with drivers about their opinions on the vaccine, and whether or not it felt right for them.
The poll inquired as follows: “Conspiracy theories and political leanings aside, will you be getting the COVID-19 vaccine?”
As of Dec. 21, 2020, 1,053 drivers responded, with a resounding 79% answering “no.”
Here are some of their responses:
Despite this overwhelming response, the trucking community has been fighting for ‘essential worker’ status since the beginning of the pandemic, which is why truck drivers could very well be next in line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
On Dec. 1, the American Trucking Association sent letters to the White House, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, President-elect Biden, and the National Governors Association, asking that truck drivers be included in prioritized access to vaccines along with other essential workers.
“Our workforce represents a central and critical link in the nation’s supply chain and will play an essential role in the imminent COVID-19 vaccine distribution process,” stated ATA’s executive vice president for advocacy, Bill Sullivan. “As the trucking industry is called upon to deliver vaccines across the country, it is imperative that truck drivers have prioritized access to the vaccine to minimize the potential for supply chain delays and disruptions.”
On Sunday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted in favor of recommendations regarding who will be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They will go on to the CDC for final approval.
The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:
- Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
- Preserve the functioning of society.
- Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
In their recommendations, healthcare personnel and long term care residents ranked first in Phase 1A, and workers in essential and critical industries, such as those in the transportation industry, fell second in Phase 1B. Altogether, Phase 1B includes about 49 million people.
The supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States will continue to be limited at first, but vaccines are expected to go out to essential workers starting in January, according to CDC estimates of vaccine availability.
Drivers have expressed concern about being required to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Some have posted on the app saying they would forfeit their CDL if they had to take the drug.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that employers can require workers to get vaccinated. Companies have the legal right to mandate that employees get a COVID-19 shot, the EEOC said last Wednesday in their latest guidances.
The Americans with Disabilities Act limits an employer’s ability to require workers to get a medical examination. The EEOC says that getting vaccinated does not constitute a medical exam. As a result, ordering employees to get a COVID-19 shot would not violate the ADA. However, employees with either a disability or religious beliefs that prevent them from getting the vaccine would be exempt.
The arrival of the vaccine has been counted on by many Americans, in hopes that it will finally bring an end to the pandemic by allowing gatherings and the reopening of schools and businesses. As the vaccine becomes more readily available to the public, new challenges will continue to arise about their level of acceptance of the drug.
*According to the National Council of Public Polling, “the average poll has a sample size of 1,000 adults.”