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Over the past year, information has circulated daily as research and newfound knowledge emerge about COVID-19. Albeit sometimes disorienting and overwhelming, these findings have been critical in order for us to mend the planet back together again. The deployment of the vaccine around the world and in the United States has been incredibly conducive to a sigh of relief, much-needed safety, and peace of mind in order to stop the spread.
Truck drivers, however, have had a difficult time acquiring the vaccine due to the inaccessibility they face while being on the road for days at a time. Due to the many different regulations and travel restrictions between states that make receiving a vaccine complex, having a small window of time to obtain two separate doses is extra challenging. Though there hasn’t been any new data on how many drivers have been vaccinated, industry leaders have called on state and federal governments to provide additional resources for drivers in times like these.
Vaccines Along the Road
The National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) recently sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) urging them to designate truck stops as mobile vaccine sites. When written in mid-February 2021, NATSO’s letter claims that President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 100 million people in the first 100 days of his presidency could be possible if the CDC were to,
“Designate truckstops and travel plazas as mobile vaccination sites so that we can leverage existing operations and locations across the country to distribute vaccines to professional truck drivers and truckstop employees.”
The letter goes on to say that by using these truck stops and travel plazas for vaccination sites, more truck drivers could be vaccinated since it would ease the challenges that drivers have been facing. Numerous states require proof of residency to receive a vaccination which makes it difficult for drivers if they are away on the road. Drivers should be allowed an exception to the rule if they need their vaccination in a different state and also be allowed to receive their second vaccination at a different truck stop location, since it would be unlikely that they would be able to receive a second dose at their first location.
While the goal of 100 million shots in arms was surpassed to the point of being doubled, the challenges for truck drivers and other professionals who travel by road in their career have not been addressed. If truck stops and plazas are used, it would provide an entire network of locations in order to provide the means necessary for drivers to carry out their jobs that are essential to the economy and deliver goods that are vital to consumers during the pandemic. By using these resources for more vaccination sites, more communities would benefit from the vaccination deployment that has been currently operating.
Since the letter was published, the CDC has put in little effort to create a mass rollout of vaccines to truck stops around the country. Different counties and states have taken it into their own hands and some places, like Delaware and North Dakota, have created ‘pop-up’ sites in an effort to get more drivers vaccinated. With smaller municipalities stepping up to the plate in order to broaden safety for drivers, we will have a mass vaccination by the end of the year.
Where to Go
If you haven’t received your vaccination yet or don’t know where to go, check out this vaccine finder. You can input a zip code and find places that have open appointments to fill. With new information circulating daily, it’s still unclear when all states will allow people to get vaccinated in a state that they don’t currently reside in, but here is a compiled list of states that are opening their doors for more out-of-staters to get their doses. Additionally, if you want to stay up-to-date on COVID-19, check out vaccine coverage news that updates regularly. New mask mandates have recently been announced by the CDC, but it’s best to check the specific area you’re in as to whether they are still requiring masks when getting gas or at a truck stop. As always, it’s important to follow NTB company policy.
With the hope for a more normal future on the horizon, receiving a vaccination could be the first step in creating a safer space and stopping COVID-19 from spreading. At NTB, we want all of our staff and drivers to remain safe during the coming months and encourage everyone to use their best judgement when it comes to wearing masks, washing their hands, and getting the vaccine if you so choose. The goal is to make sure all drivers remain healthy so they can continue to support the country and keep on truckin’.
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