The United States appears to be prioritizing housekeeping staff along with medical personnel for early COVID-19 vaccination.
CNN reports the first person to be inoculated south of the border was Andrew Miller, a housekeeper in the Environmental Management Service, on December 14.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory group had previously recommended that frontline healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be the first to receive the vaccine. These calls were echoed by organizations like ISSA and the American Cleaning Institute.
It looks set to continue, too. UVA Health in Charlottesville, Virginia, expects to vaccinate 9,000 to 10,000 employees, including housekeeping staff. Costi Sifri, MD, director of hospital epidemiology at UVA Health, said: “Everybody, we think, who is seeing a patient deserves a vaccine if they want a vaccine.”
Ai-Jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told CNN that domestic workers often don’t receive the same labour protections that are extended to other workers. Housekeepers have been found to be among the most vulnerable workers during the pandemic. An estimated 65 per cent of them don’t have health insurance, 60 per cent spend more than half of their income on rent or mortgage payments, and an overwhelming majority do not have paid sick days or paid time off.