COVID-19 has plagued the nation, and the rest of the world, for more than a year now. However, many believe an end is in sight. There are now 3 COVID-19 vaccines on the market today, but there are currently limitations on who can receive the shot. Can truck drivers get the COVID vaccine? The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no” yet. Let’s look at the details around the vaccine and who can receive it.
Can truck drivers get the COVID vaccine? As of the time of this writing, truck drivers are not eligible for the COVID vaccine as a group. But individual drivers might meet qualifying factors. This means some truck drivers can likely get the COVID vaccine. Though transportation workers are among the most essential workers in today’s global marketplace, current mandates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that vaccine priority goes to those who meet certain other criteria.
Additionally, vaccine guidelines can vary by state. There are many public health circumstances that come into play to determine who can get the vaccine. From frontline essential workers in the transportation and logistics industries to health care workers, let’s break down some of the guidelines around the vaccine and who can get it.
First thing first. At this time, there are no laws or regulations mandating anyone to receive the COVID vaccine. While some medical professionals might encourage you to seek vaccinations when eligible, you are not required to get the COVID vaccine.
Ultimately, who gets the vaccine comes down to personal choice. Some truck drivers might be eager to get the vaccine; others might decide to pass even if eligible.
You do not have to get a COVID vaccine. We understand it is a personal choice. The purpose of this blog article isn’t to persuade you either way, but simply to inform you about the COVID vaccine, eligibility, and when can truck drivers get the COVID vaccine.
According to information from the CDC, the COVID vaccine is a shot you can take that supports the immune system in fighting the COVID-19.
There are 3 different COVID-19 vaccines on the market today, each using different technologies to help the body develop immunity to the virus. The COVID vaccines available today have been manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). Each of these vaccines has been granted a EUA, or Emergency Use Authorization, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There’s a lot of speculation going around about the COVID vaccine, especially among truck drivers. Let’s look at some of the questions regarding the COVID vaccine.
Yes, scientists developed the COVID-19 vaccines quickly to meet global demand. Prior advances in medical and vaccine technology were used in the production of the vaccine, and this is why health officials believe the vaccine is safe.
Some COVID vaccines require two shots to be fully effective. Both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines require two shots for full protection. The Janssen vaccine only requires one shot.
COVID vaccine eligibility is based on a number of factors. A national “tier” system is in place to determine who gets the vaccine first. Health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and other people who might be occupationally exposed to the virus are among those in the first tiers.
The COVID vaccine has been approved by the FDA under a EUA. This means limited clinical trials have proven safety. You should avoid the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to vaccines in the past.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has broken priority to get the COVID vaccine down into 3 tiers. This information launched in December 2020, as vaccines started becoming more accessible.
The first tier granting top priority to get the COVID vaccine included first responders, healthcare workers, and residents of long-term care facilities. This group is considered tier 1a. This group is eligible for vaccination currently in all states.
The second tier granting priority to get the COVID vaccine includes those over age 75 and those with high-risk health complications. Frontline workers, like teachers, public transit workers, grocery store employees, and others who interact with the public on a near-daily basis are also included in this tier. This tier is labeled 1b. As of March 2021, many states are rolling out guidelines to accommodate and vaccinate those in tier 1b.
The third tired granting priority to get the COVID vaccines will include other essential workers, including truck drivers. Other essential workers included in tier 1c include food service workers, construction workers, those in the finance sector, IT and communications workers, media employees, those in the legal sector, and others. This group makes up approximately 87 million individuals, according to the CDC. Most states have not begun vaccinating those in tier 1c.
Truckers are essential workers. Without their hard work, supply chains would crumble and all kinds of commerce would come to a standstill. Despite their essential role in society, truck drivers, as noted above, are considered to be in the third tier of COVID vaccine eligibility, according to information from the CDC’s ACIP.
As of March 2021, limited information is available about when the third tier is eligible for vaccination. States are handling vaccination roll-outs individually under CDC guidelines and rules vary between jurisdictions. However, it is important to know that vaccine roll-out is moving quickly, with guidelines updated frequently by state.
However, some truck drivers might be eligible for the vaccine sooner because of other health conditions. Though you have to be in great shape to pass a DOT physical, those who are under care for the following conditions might be eligible for the vaccine now. These conditions include:
If you want the vaccine and deal with any of these underlying conditions, you are likely eligible in your state despite third-tier status. Some states require a note from a doctor or other medical provider stating eligibility; other states do not. Consider checking with the health department in your home state to determine guidelines where you are.
Many truckers work for companies. Others work for themselves. But if you’re driving for the man, can your employer require a COVID vaccine? Maybe.
According to information from the Society for Human Resources Managers, workplace laws and guidelines like those set by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Equal Employee Opportunity Commission (EEOC), make it easy for your employer to encourage you to get the vaccine. These laws also make it difficult -- but not impossible -- to require you to get the vaccine.
Specifically, the EEOC ruled on December 16, 2020, that companies who require the COVID-19 vaccine are no in violation of the ADA.
However, religious beliefs and other considerations can also come into play. You are likely exempt from potential vaccination requirements if these apply to you.
Consider staying in touch with your company’s HR department about vaccine requirements.
There are many reasons truck drivers and others might want to opt-out of a COVID vaccine. The vaccines were developed quickly and phase 3 trials are still underway. Distrust of elected officials and available health information might deter others. Some folks are concerned about the efficacy of the vaccines; others might not like having officials dictate or encourage their personal medical treatment.
There are also many reasons for truckers to consider getting the vaccine when they can. The vaccine can be a step toward preventing an illness that killed more than 500,000 Americans in a single year and sickened even more.
Can truck drivers get the COVID vaccine? If they meet the CDC’s criteria, yes. But are they required to get the vaccine? As of this time, ABCO does not require drivers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Freedom of choice isn’t the only benefit of driving for ABCO. As an ABCO driver, you’ll have access to company-owned resorts around the country. You’ll also get great other benefits -- medical, vision, and more.
Regional routes let you spend time at home where it matters. No matter whether you’re looking for truck driver’s jobs in South Florida or seeking out trucking jobs in Chicago, let ABCO show you what it means to work for a company that respects you.
If you have a clean MVR record, some experience under your seatbelt, and a great attitude, reach out to ABCO now. Browse our truck driving jobs and see what makes working for the right company special.