There has been a lot of news recently about COVID-19 vaccinations. Today, an independent panel of experts is holding a vote on whether or not to recommend that the FDA approve the first COVID-19 vaccine under the agency's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) process. The vaccine is made by Pfizer. Limited distribution of vaccine doses will be sent to states next week, and there are other vaccines under development. Having many different vaccines that have been tested to make sure they are effective and safe and have been approved by the FDA will help speed production and distribution.
It will be a while before everyone is able to get a vaccine, and the availability of vaccines will not immediately end the pandemic. Record numbers of people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and deaths have been increasing in every age group. Epidemiologists expect cases to continue to surge over the next few months. Every one of us should take steps to stop the spread.
It's critical that employers provide workplace protections and that CWA members fight for improved protections and safeguards. Members should continue to observe basic public health measures, both inside and outside of work, to keep themselves and their families safe and stop the spread of the virus. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, stay at least 6 feet apart, and avoid gatherings with other people, particularly in indoor spaces. The more steps you take, the more you are protected against COVID-19.
The states will determine who will be prioritized to get the vaccines in their state and how the distribution will be carried out. For this first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, states will likely be following the CDC's recommendations, which means that CWA-represented healthcare workers will be among the first to be vaccinated. Employers are setting up the process for vaccinations for healthcare workers, including where healthcare workers will be able to get vaccinations. CWA locals are working with employers to understand the distribution and prioritization plan and to ensure that employers will be providing adequate vaccine education to eligible members.
Your state's Department of Public Health website has the most up-to-date information about your state's COVID-19 vaccination plan.
For additional information about COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html.