Industry suggests using truck stops as COVID vaccination sites

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Industry organizations are suggesting that truck stops be used as locations to dispense the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine.

In a letter sent to the Centers for Disease Control land Prevention, owners of travel centers and trucking organizations suggested truck stops and travel plazas be used as mobile vaccination sites for the distribution of vaccines to professional truck drivers and truck stop employees. Doing so would have an immediate impact on the distribution of vaccines to essential truck stop employees and truck drivers, the groups said in a letter to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

The letter was sent by NATSO, the American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, the National Private Truck Council, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, and the Tank Truck Carriers.

"Truckstops and travel plazas are designed to cater to the unique needs of truck drivers who spend hundreds of days each year away from home," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. "Commercial drivers who are unable to access medical services in their home state or while driving a tractor-trailer already are accustomed to accessing these services at truckstops and travel centers. Designating our network as mobile vaccination sites will ensure efficient vaccinations for the essential truck drivers who deliver America's needs as well as the employees who serve them."

Utilizing truckstops and travel plazas as mobile vaccination sites would alleviate significant challenges that truck drivers currently face in receiving an expedient vaccine, according to the groups' letter. Many states, for example, currently require proof of residency to receive a vaccine. Truck drivers should be allowed to receive a vaccine in a state other than that within which they reside due to their length of time on the road and away from home. Truck drivers also must be allowed to receive their second vaccination at a different location as it is improbable that they would have the ability to return to the primary vaccination site on a specific date or time.

It's estimated that about 8.1% of all Americans have been fully vaccinated, and 16% have had at least one shot.