Uber asks governors to give drivers early access to COVID-19 vaccines

Uber despatched letters in the present day to each US governor asking that their drivers and supply folks be categorised as important staff and given prioritized access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has really helpful the primary batch of vaccines go to well being care staff and residents of long-term care services, with important staff — together with these in transportation — following in a second part. But it’s up to every state to determine the specifics of their vaccine distribution plan.

“After nine months on the frontlines keeping their communities running, we are asking governors in all 50 states to prioritize drivers and delivery people for early vaccine access,” mentioned Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a press release to The Verge.

Uber made an analogous enchantment to the CDC earlier this week, saying in a letter that early access to a COVID-19 vaccine “would help drivers and delivery people continue to play their essential role while also reducing the risk that they may inadvertently contract, or possibly transmit, the virus.”

In the letter to state governors, Khosrowshahi argues that Uber can use their companies “to remove transportation barriers faced by individuals who will need to travel to their vaccination appointments.” Both letters level to the usage of Uber by well being care staff, eating places, and folks counting on supply to keep at residence in the course of the pandemic.

While Uber is asking for its staff to be thought-about important, the corporate has lengthy been criticized for repeatedly combating to classify those self same drivers as contractors quite than workers. Uber has gone as far as to say that “drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business.” Part of its enterprise or not, extra drivers and supply folks might proceed working by the pandemic with early access to vaccination.

The FDA advisory committee is assembly on Thursday to talk about emergency authorization of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and it will likely be doing the identical subsequent week for the Moderna vaccine. States have already begun their preparations for vaccine distribution, however with restricted provide, there might not be sufficient doses accessible to vaccinate all well being care staff by the top of the yr. As extra doses grow to be accessible in 2021, it can take cautious consideration from state officers to decide which populations of individuals needs to be prioritized.

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