| Water and wastewater utilities urged to contact health agencies regarding COVID-19 vaccines
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Water and wastewater utilities urged to contact health agencies regarding COVID-19 vaccines

The Water Sector Coordinating Council (WSCC), of which the American Water Works Association (AWWA) is a member, is urging U.S. water and wastewater utilities to contact their state and local public health agencies to ensure their staff are properly prioritized in their community’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

COVID-19 vaccineAs stated in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations, water and wastewater utility employees are eligible for the Phase 1-B distribution phase because they have the federal designation of “essential workers.”

WSCC distributed a memo to utilities that states, “Local engagement is critical because, while the federal government has issued recommendations for vaccine prioritization, the final decisions related to planning and distribution will occur at the state and local levels.

“In a December 7 email to Water and Wastewater Sector partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Security Division recognized the CDC’s interim playbook ‘recommends non-health care essential workers, which include water utility staff, receive priority in Phase 1-B’ and stated it ‘recommends water utilities coordinate with their state and local governments and health departments regarding vaccination distribution planning.’”

AWWA and other water associations have a template letter for utilities to use when contacting their state and local health authorities. Questions can be directed to Kevin Morley, AWWA’s federal relations manager.

 

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