Industry Groups Say Railroaders Should Be Next in Line for Vaccine

A masked Montana Rail Link employee is seen at the Missoula, Mont., yard in November 2020. Photo by Justin Franz.

Industry Groups Say Railroaders Should Be Next in Line for Vaccine

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

WASHINGTON — Industry groups are asking that railroaders and other transportation professionals be among the first essential workers to receive the coronavirus vaccine in the coming weeks. 

Earlier this month, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association and other groups representing trucking and maritime transportation, came together to urge government leaders to let their employees be among the first to be vaccinated. Now that at least two of the vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, those calls are growing louder. 

“Ensuring vaccine availability for freight, rail, port and waterway, and energy workers is a key protective intervention to help keep our critical supply chains operating, reinforce the resilience of our transportation networks, and mitigate the risk of economic downturns and their effects at the local, regional, and national levels,” the groups wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders. “As we saw at the outset of the pandemic when supply lines are disrupted, consequences are fast to follow.”

Phase 1 distribution of the virus has been broken into three parts. In Phase 1a, healthcare workers and long term care facility residents have been among the first to receive it. Phase 1b calls for people over 75 and frontline workers. Phase 1c are people with medical conditions and other essential workers. The rail and transportation industry is arguing that its employees should be in Phase 1b. The  American Public Transportation Association has also sent a letter in support of the plan to state governors who will play a major role in implementing distribution. 

This article was posted on: December 22, 2020