Uber wants Covid vaccine priority for ride-hailing and delivery drivers, billed as non-health essential workers – paultan.org

The one bright spark of late is the emergence of Covid-19 vaccines and the speed at which governments plan to roll it out. Big pharma won’t be making enough of the shots for everyone to get it all at once, so there has to be a priority list. Healthcare workers are the main frontliners in this pandemic, and should be the first in line. Who’s next?

Uber yesterday asked the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to designate its ride-hailing and delivery drivers as non-health essential workers entitled to early Covid-19 vaccine distribution. In a letter to the CDC, the company said its drivers provided critical transportation for essential workers and allowed others to stay home and order food, Reuters reported.

“Early access to a 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,” read the letter signed by Danielle Burr, Uber’s head of federal affairs.

Uber’s request comes as several industry groups – such as those in food production, agriculture, consumer goods and the trucking industry – are asking the authorities to prioritise their workers for early vaccine distribution.

According to the report, US government officials have said that up to 20 million of its population could be vaccinated by the end of this year (less than a month to go), but that it would take until the middle of 2021 for most Americans to gain access to the vaccine.

The CDC Advisory Committee is drafting recommendations for the priority list, and on Tuesday said healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should receive the vaccine first. A US government agency in August included ride-hailing, taxi, delivery and car rental services in a list of essential critical infrastructure workers that also included more than 300 other job categories.

What do you think of Uber’s request, fair enough? When the vaccine reaches our shores, should our Grab drivers and food delivery abangs also get on the priority list?

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