Prioritize truckers for Covid-19 vaccine, ATA says

John G Smith

ARLINGTON, Va. – The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is calling for the trucking industry’s workforce to be prioritized along with other essential workers when it comes to establishing a national vaccine strategy.

The call emerged yesterday in a series of letters to the White House, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, President-elect Joe Biden, and the National Governors Association. And it focuses on the role the trucking industry will play in distributing the vaccine itself.

The ATA says truckers should be included among other essential workers when setting priorities for a Covid-19 vaccine. (Photo: istock)

 “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,” says the letter signed by Bill Sullivan, ATA’s executive vice-president – advocacy.

“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.” 

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) has advised provincial trucking associations to make similar requests in their respective jurisdictions because vaccine distribution is a provincial role, says Stephen Laskowski, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.

“The federal government is procuring the vaccine, but they’re distributing to the provinces based on an allocation formula.”

The association is supporting calls to prioritize the elderly, those who already have the virus, frontline healthcare workers, and those who have pre-existing conditions that make them susceptible to Covid-19, he adds.

“We’re very sensitive, as an industry, to the needs of that first group.”

But the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has formally asked its province to include members of the trucking industry to be included in the next layer of those who are prioritized for the vaccine, Laskowski says.

“Just as efforts were necessary to support prioritized distribution of PPE to the dedicated professionals who ensure the continuity of our nation’s supply chain, we must now focus our efforts to ensure that these same critical infrastructure workers have prioritized access to the Covid-19 vaccine as it becomes available,” Sullivan wrote in the ATA letters.

Those letters also carried a warning about the consequences that would emerge if members of the trucking industry weren’t protected.

“The trucking industry is proud to play an outsized role in Covid-19 response and recovery efforts, and we ask that you consider the essential nature of the trucking workforce as you implement plans for vaccine distribution,” he wrote.

“As we saw at the outset of the pandemic, when supply lines are disrupted, consequences are fast to follow.”

  • This article has been updated to include comments from the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • Health care workers are much more important than truck drivers. The list should be as follows. 1 doctors , paramedics ,R N s, R N A s , Hosp. staff. 2 P S Ws, firemen, police, military and emergency response teams and nursing homes people. 3 every one over 70 years of age and certain people with certain health issues. 4 Truck drivers airplane crews , Rail way crews boat crews and other essential workers making over $25.00 per hour. 5 Lower paid essential workers , teachers, school bus drivers, day care workers, and those between 60 and 70 years of age. 6 All others working over 21 years of age. 7 All others in the country.

    • If we refused to put our selfs at risk by leaving the safety of our homes to cross the border. We would all be in trouble. Although I agree health care workers should have it first transportation workers get the things we need. That is how the world stays open and enables all essential workers to do there jobs.

  • As the wife of a life time over-the-road truck driver, this is great news. My 65 yr old husband hauls a refer with food to major distribution centers across the u.s. and is on the road 20 + days a month. These men and women go state -to-state to deliver all our goods, without them we would all be in trouble. I stay home and wear a mask if i have to go anywhere to make sure he comes home to a safe place but he takes his chances everyday on the road. These men and women need protected, please let the appropriate people know that they are at risk everyday and should be considered essential to our country.

  • I’M A TRUCK DRIVER IN CALIFORNIA, I’M 62 Y/O AND OUT OF WORK BECAUSE OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, JUST WAITING TO GET VACCINATED !

  • Whoever that guy is…he needs to shut his mouth..he does not speak for me or any truck driver i know..i drive a truck and i for sure will never take that shot☝️