Essential employees in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. A group of representatives from the D.C. area have started an effort to make it easier for federal employees to get shots sooner.
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) wrote a letter with six of his colleagues urging the Centers for Disease Control to create an allocation of vaccines for federal employees the federal government would administer.
Beyer told “Government Matters” the problem is that there are many federal employees, such as IRS workers, who have not been classified as essential but really are.
“The dilemma is that if you’re a 50-year-old worker at the EPA or Department of Interior, you’re not prioritized at all, even though the work you’re doing is essential for the American people,” said Beyer.
“This is not a diss on local governments or state governments,” he continued, “but rather the recognition that you and I understand how essential these federal workers are for the good of the country, and therefore let’s get them vaccinated as quickly as we can.”
Beyer said there is a lot of demand for vaccines among his constituents. “Anything that shortens the time between when you’re vulnerable and when you get a vaccine is a good thing,” he said.
Beyer added this is especially important now that there is a new B.1.1.7 variant from the UK that is more contagious. He said vaccinating people will minimize the spread of this new variant.
Although the vaccine allocation program would make it easier for employees to get vaccinated in their workplace, Beyer still thinks it would be a good idea in the meantime to provide employees time off to get the vaccine. “I took my wife two Fridays ago, and it was a half-day journey,” he said.
Beyer said he has not yet heard back from the CDC.