Business groups pushing for access to coronavirus vaccine for workers

Advocates for the food, beverage and household products industry are pushing for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give their workers priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine after health care workers and first responders.

The Consumer Brands Association (CBA), which represents the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, wrote a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield on Thursday, requesting vaccine priority for its workforce.

“The CPG industry has worked diligently to meet demand for products indispensable to pandemic response like food, beverages, disinfectants, cleansers, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and more. These essential items are critically important to the sustainability of our nation’s healthcare facilities, and vital to the commercial and community services necessary for critical infrastructure,” Betsy Booren, CBA senior vice president of regulatory and technical affairs, wrote.

She added, “As demand for these products has skyrocketed, manufacturing facilities remain open, with employees working around-the-clock to ensure availability for essential infrastructure operations and consumers.”

The food industry overall has asked for priority access to a vaccine, and business groups like the North American Meat Institute, American Frozen Food institute, the National Milk Producers Federation and the United Fresh Produce Association wrote to President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump’s refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: ‘What country are we in?’ Romney: ‘Unthinkable and unacceptable’ to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE in July to make their case. The National Restaurant Association also signed onto that letter. 

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises for the CDC, was expected to vote on vaccine prioritization on Tuesday but is instead waiting for more data to become available before it formally recommends who should get the initial dose. 

There are three vaccine candidates undergoing late-stage clinical trials in the U.S., and two said they hope to have safety data available by November. When a vaccine authorization is announced, ACIP will hold an emergency meeting and vote on recommendations for use. 

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