US government and private industry vaccinations for staff and contractors seen as faster path to COVID-19 protection

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center will vaccinate 400 staff and contractors with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, calling it a one-time opportunity. 

US Government and wealthy private companies have secured vaccines for employees, excluding family members due to cost and supply. And those that haven’t directly vaccinated its “workers” have spent millions lobbying for classifications like “earners” and “independent” to push their workers to the top of federal and local vaccination lists as front-line workers. 

Companies like AmazonLyft, DoorDash, and Perdue are making the case that their employees should get priority when it comes to the limited-supply Covid-19 vaccine. Companies are working to influence decisions at the state and local levels because it’s up to states to decide what to do with federal recommendations on classifying priority vaccines. 

Companies like Amazon, Lyft, DoorDash, and Perdue are making the case that their employees should get priority when it comes to the limited-supply Covid-19 vaccine 
Companies like Amazon, Lyft, DoorDash, and Perdue are making the case that their employees should get priority when it comes to the limited-supply Covid-19 vaccine

“Pretty much everybody is on the same page with vulnerable people and front-line workers,” going first on the vaccine, said Matt McCambridge, founder, and CEO of Eden Health

Amazon submitted a letter to the CDC asking for 800,000 warehouse, data center, and grocery store worker vaccinations “at the earliest possible time,” as the second-largest employer in the US, behind Walmart. Government agencies, on the other hand, federal agencies have their own distribution networks. 

Government Executive, an online news publication, reached out to the major US government agencies to ask if they were offering vaccines to workers, including contractors. 

“The department’s goal is to offer vaccines to 100% of its eligible workforce, both domestically and overseas,” said an unidentified US Department of State spokesperson.

NASA 

“Given the benefits to our staff and veterans, VA policy provides that [the Veterans Health Administration] may choose to include certain VA contractors, students, trainees, and volunteers,” said an unidentified Veterans Administration spokesperson.

“The department’s COVID-19 vaccine program is making vaccinations available to all eligible service members, DoD civilians, and other beneficiaries, including families, veterans, and retirees,” said Maj. César Santiago, Defense spokesperson.

 “Justice has only recently been able to request a direct supply of vaccines for a portion of the department’s critical infrastructure, on-site federal positions in law enforcement, national security, and court-related operations,” said an unidentified Justice Department spokesperson.

“ODNI has offered COVID-19 vaccinations to all personnel working in our facilities,” said an unidentified spokesperson at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

A total of 34 states have said they will fully open eligibility by April 19th, and 14 more have announced plans to expand eligibility on or before May 1st. So, while government and private-sector workers have had a faster path to a COVID-19 vaccination, all US citizens above 16 years of age should have access very soon. 

Kristi Pelzel is a Senior White House correspondent for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Kristi also covers the US Department of State and the United Nations. She holds a master's degree from Georgetown University.

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