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Aviation workers urge Gov. Herbert to prioritize them for the vaccine

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 20 : Travelers are heading to main terminal from Concourse B at Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on Friday. November 20, 2020.(Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Frontline aviation workers wrote a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert, urging him to prioritize them in the statewide COVID-19 vaccine distribution. 

Under the state’s distribution plan, the vaccine began rolling out earlier this week. Today the Utah Department of Health reported more than 3,500  doses had been administered, and that will continue into 2021. Healthcare workers in high-risk environments are among the first to receive the vaccine, before going to school staff, first responders, and other healthcare personnel. 

After that, vaccines will be administered to essential workers with the prioritization not yet determined. Airline workers are asking Gov. Herbert to place them somewhere near the top. 

“Aviation workers are frontline workers who either encounter the traveling public frequently or are required to perform our work in close proximity to our colleagues and perform our jobs onsite,” aviation workers wrote in a letter to the governor. “While our employers have implemented multiple layers of protection for the well-being of the traveling public and employees, the very nature of these jobs exposes the aviation workforce to risk like other frontline workers.”

Aviation workers await COVID-19 vaccine

It’s not yet known when frontline aviation workers are expected to receive the vaccine. Under the state’s distribution plan, airline workers are scheduled to be vaccinated in March through July. 

However, it may come sooner as frontline aviation workers are considered to be essential to “maintaining our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

Workers argue they should be high on the priority list because they expect aviators to play a key role in the distribution process. 

“The vaccine distribution effort is complex and involves extensive collaboration between federal and state governments along with private
companies,” they wrote. “To succeed, the U.S. will need every asset available to perform optimally — including the frontline workers that keep our nation’s safe and efficient air transportation and supply chain systems operational.”

Roughly 21 airline corporations signed on to the letter, urging the governor to prioritize airport workers. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States