Food and ag workers part of COVID vaccine Phase1B


Food and ag workers part of COVID vaccine Phase1B

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to prioritize frontline essential workers, including those in the food and agriculture industry, as COVID-19 vaccinations begin.

Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen tells Brownfield an advisory committee on immunization practices has recommended this group be part of the second phase of people receiving the vaccine.

“In the distribution, we’re looking at food and agriculture workers being in the 1B category. Which is pretty high up, after 1A which is right now. We’re really trying to get those (food and ag workers vaccinated) because we knew there was a lot of spread in those areas and everything.”

If approved, the CDC recommendations would provide a framework for states looking to vaccinate the approximately 30 million frontline essential workers and 19 million over the age of 75 who make up Phase1B.

Petersen says the logistics could get tricky.

“The Pfizer vaccine, for example, uses dry ice. So that’s been a real concern as many of our cheese makers or milk, dairy, (and) different ag producers use dry ice, and just ensuring there’s a stable supply of dry ice. There is (currently), but it has a lot to do with timing.”

He says the ethanol industry could play an important role in that because many plants produce CO2 for dry ice.

The CDC lists other essential workers, like those in the food service, energy, and transportation sectors, among those in Phase1C.