The NWRA sent a letter to the CDC requesting waste and recycling workers gain access to the vaccine based on their designation as essential workers during the pandemic.

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) sent a letter Nov. 24 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urging the agency to accept recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Previously, ACIP recommended that essential workers as identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should receive a COVID-19 vaccine after healthcare workers. Waste collection workers are part of this essential worker classification.

“We applaud the hard work of the CDC, the ACIP and all the men and women dedicated to ensuring that Americans have access to a safe and effective vaccine,” NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith says. “I am pleased that DHS and ACIP recognize the important work our members do to protect public health. NWRA has made every effort to provide the necessary resources so that the waste and recycling industry can continue to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

During the pandemic, DHS’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Administration classified waste collection workers as “essential” under five different “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” categories at the request of NWRA. Additionally, waste and recycling workers were placed on the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s COVID-19 vaccine priority list in response to a request from the association.