You Can Help Ensure Deathcare Workers Receive COVID-19 Vaccines
In light of a COVID-19 vaccine and distribution, International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) has distributed letters to state health departments as well as state deathcare regulatory authorities (you can find a copy of the letter here). Currently, Operation Warp Speed (OWS) is being led by Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to organize distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has provided framework for the Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine and drafted respective State vaccine distribution plans. Within the NAS framework, the highest priority for allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine is targeted to high-risk health workers, first responders, those with underlying conditions, and older adults in overcrowded settings, such as nursing homes.
However, these will be Federal guidance, and each state and county will institute their own distribution plan (click here for proposed distribution plans). ICCFA is urging States to utilize the NAS recommendations for vaccine distribution to high-risk health care workers, including those same workers in the deathcare industry. This follows the CISA guidance to states on essential critical workers during COVID-19 response that includes deathcare workers as essential healthcare and public health professionals, and includes funeral directors, morticians, crematory, funeral home and cemetery workers are all on the front lines in responding to the pandemic. Specifically, under the classification of high-risk workers in health care facilities, the framework lists “morticians, funeral home workers and other death care professionals involved in the handling of bodies.”
As a deathcare worker, working on the frontline, you should be included as a high-risk worker and included at the highest level for distribution of the vaccine. This letter, written on behalf of all deathcare workers, can be used by you to send your local health department in an effort to ensure you and your fellow workers are included. Please feel free to distribute the letter to those in your area who are handling the distribution, and as always contact ICCFA with any questions or comments.