Truck drivers are not being considered “frontline essential workers” when it comes to vaccine distribution – this UHD professor wants to change that

A professor at the University of Houston Downtown has published a paper explaining why truck drivers should be a higher priority when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Currently, truck drivers are categorized as “phase 1c” in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, meaning that they are not being considered a “frontline essential worker,” which would land them in “phase 1b,” KHOU 11 reported.

Dr. Michael Lemke, a former truck driver and health and human behavior professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, is making the case that truck drivers are indeed essential, as well as uniquely qualified for an early round of vaccines. 

“My big point in that paper is just like ‘okay well we need to think about protecting those who are getting the vaccines out to begin with. If we don’t protect those people, nobody gets it.”

“They have lower interpersonal contact than many essential workers, but they travel enormous distances and come in contact with many types of people along the way,” he said. 

“They’re so stereotyped, so stigmatized, the whole profession. We tend not to see a lot of attention to them as workers in general even though they experience tremendous health disparities and environmental degradation. Getting health care on the road is nearly impossible. You can’t really drive a truck into town, you’re just stuck going island to island without really access to medical care.”

While Dr. Lemke’s intentions are to protect the truck drivers who keep our country moving, his efforts may be in vain. According to a poll conducted by CDLLife in late December, 79% of the 1,053 drivers polled responded that they would not be taking the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Watch clips of the interview with Dr. Lemke, below. Click here for the full-length interview.