Join Now

Utah Life Sciences News & Events

BioUtah Urges State to Prioritize Life Sciences Workers in COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

December 4, 2020

With the CDC’s prioritization recommendations as guidance, states will make the final decisions about vaccine allocation in their states. The Utah Department of Health, Department of Public Safety along with Governor Herbert and Governor-Elect Cox are actively working to refine the state’s initial COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. An anticipated vaccination timeline can be viewed here.

BioUtah has sent a letter to the Department of Health and state leaders, making the case to include employees of Utah’s life sciences companies among priority recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines as essential workers. The letter also urges that Health Care Industry Representatives (HCIRs) in the medical device sector, given their on-site work with clinical teams, be treated as healthcare workers in the earliest phases of state vaccinations. 

The national Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), a BioUtah partner, shared their views on vaccine allocation for the biopharmaceutical industry in a letter to the National Governor’s Association. AdvaMed, also a BioUtah partner, commented on COVID-19 vaccine allocation in a memo to state vaccine authorities. Both BIO and AdvaMed share the position of BioUtah that life sciences workers should be included in the earliest phase of vaccinations for essential workers – with Health Care Industry Representatives prioritized as health care workers.(HCIRs).

Our industry’s workers are recognized as essential in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s definition of critical infrastructure workers. (Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance Version 4.0). 

Some of Utah’s medical device companies’ employ HCIRs who perform critical functions alongside healthcare professionals on the front lines. They typically work in clinical settings in close proximity to physicians and healthcare professionals. As a result, their risk of COVID-19 exposure, like other healthcare workers, is high, and should be recognized as such in the state’s vaccination plan.

BioUtah will continue to work with the Department of Health to provide input on vaccine allocation as the planning process continues.