A panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today voted to include financial services workers in Phase 1c of COVID-19 vaccinations. Under the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, banking employees would be prioritized for vaccine doses alongside workers in sectors considered essential but with a substantially lower risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The American Bankers Association strongly urged the committee to include frontline bank employees—such as tellers and loan officers—in Phase 1b, given their regular contact with the public. “We believe these frontline workers face the highest risk of infection, pose the greatest risk of spreading the virus if infected, and are absolutely essential, especially in communities where residents may not have access to electronic banking tools,” ABA said in a letter to the CDC last week.
Individuals in Phase 1a—health-care personnel and nursing home residents—are already receiving vaccine doses. Phase 1b, which follows, will include Americans over 75 and frontline workers in emergency services, education, food, agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, postal delivery, public transit and grocery stores, according to the ACIP recommendations. . In addition to financial workers, Phase 1c will include persons over 65 and those aged 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions, as well as workers in the transportation, food service, construction, IT and telecommunications, energy, media, legal, safety engineering and sewer and water industries.
State public health authorities will make their own decisions about vaccine prioritization based on the CDC recommendations. ABA and the state bankers associations will urge these officials to allow for vaccination for the frontline essential workers in the banking sector as early as possible alongside other essential workers.