School bus drivers could be among first vaccine recipients

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that frontline essential workers and all adults over the age of 75, both groups that could include school bus drivers, be among the next recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

A CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) workgroup advised on Sunday that the vaccines be prioritized to prevent morbidity and mortality as well as preserve “social functioning.” The ACIP recommended that states provide the first phase of vaccines, denoted as 1a, to health care personnel, and residents and workers in long-term care facilities. The next group in the first phase, or 1b, are people over 75 years old and the 30 million frontline essential workers, “who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.”

ACIP defines these frontline essential workers as firefighters and police, food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections workers, U.S. Postal service workers, public transit workers, and grocery store workers.

The next to receive the vaccine, those in the 1c group, are people ages 64 to 74 years old with high-risk medical conditions and 57 million “other essential workers,” a group that includes transportation and logistics. In August, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency defined school bus drivers as essential workers for both education and transportation and logistics.

Phase 2 of the vaccine, according to the workgroup, should include teachers, school staff and child-care workers as well as people in homeless shelters or group homes for individuals with disabilities, including serious mental illness, development and intellectual disabilities.

Phase 3 would cover children, young adults and workers “important to the functioning of society and at increased risk of exposure” who are not covered in the first two phases.

Most state governors have already issued vaccine distribution plans, with priority given to long-term care facilities and healthcare professionals.

CDC also said that the incidence of COVID-19 is currently highest in young adults at 5,488 positive cases per 100,000 people ages 18 to 29. Next is people 85 years of age and older at 5,064 cases per 100,000 people, followed by people ages 30 to 39 (4,671 cases per 100,000) and 40-40 (4,543). But mortality is highest among those 85 years old and higher at 1,118 deaths per 100,000. But the mortality rate drops by 69% for the next age range, 75 to 84 years, and by another 60% for 65 to 74-year-olds.

However, CDC said the proportion of COVID-19 deaths remain consistent at between 9 and 11% for middle-aged and older adults.

Reprinted with permission from School Transportation News. Read the original post.

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