ARLINGTON, VA – FMI – The Food Industry Association today participated in a virtual, public meeting hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. FMI Director of Food and Health Policy, Peter Matz, offered, in part, the following comments:
“FMI strongly supports the ACIP’s recommendations to prioritize health care personnel, including pharmacists, in the initial phase of COVID-19 vaccine allocation as well as food and agriculture industry essential workers in Phase 1b. However, to achieve consistent and equitable COVID-19 vaccination, states and jurisdictions should be strongly encouraged to adhere to federal recommendations. As a result of many states reworking their vaccine prioritization frameworks in the face of federal guidance, food industry essential workers – from manufacturing/production employees working in close proximity and grocery workers who have a higher contact rate with the public, to certain transportation workers and food safety auditors who ensure food, beverages, and packaged goods are safe for consumer consumption – are struggling to access vaccinations.
"Although many of our supermarket pharmacy members are utilizing their parking lots and outdoor tents as COVID-19 vaccination clinics capable of administering nearly 1,000 shots in a day, most are not yet receiving vaccine supplies anywhere close to their capacity. With that in mind, FMI urges the Biden Administration to designate a Federal COVID Vaccine Coordinator in each state and jurisdiction to coordinate at all levels of government and help ensure the deployment of vaccines among priority populations. Also, in order for vaccine providers to fully utilize the limited supply of vaccines they do receive, they must have visibility into the expected availability of future doses. Therefore, to expedite vaccinations, we urge the federal government to share with states and providers the anticipated lot release dates for vaccine doses.”