Frontline workers now eligible for vaccine two weeks earlier

Initially, they were eligible starting on May 1 with the rest of the general public.

Posted: Mar 19, 2021 7:11 PM
Updated: Mar 19, 2021 8:16 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Gov. Kate Brown announced Friday frontline workers will be eligible for the vaccine two weeks ahead of the general public.

Frontline workers can start getting the vaccine on April 19. Initially, they were eligible starting on May 1 with the rest of the general public.

United Food and Commercial Workers, the state's largest grocery store worker union, said after pressure from unions and seeing other states move up vaccine eligibility for frontline workers, the governor decided to do the same.

"Now we're at the point where we have a little bit of lead ahead of the general population which I think makes a lot of sense because there will be a pretty big bottleneck," Miles Eshaia, communication lead for UFCW. "We have the infrastructure with our UFCW members: they work at Safeways and Albertsons and Fred Meyers -- there are pharmacies already."

Eshaia said there was some frustration among his members because they were told for a year they were essential for the state but last on the vaccine list.

"When I've been doing these press events, I haven't really initially had to make the comment because everyone who has come to me and asks me, 'Hey what do you think of grocery workers not being vaccinated ahead of everyone else, that doesn't make any sense what do you think?'" Eshaia said. "I go well yeah that's the statement right there it doesn't make any sense."

He said the union is now waiting for a plan from the governor to start rolling out vaccines for frontline workers.

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