Advocacy on the Move
State Vaccine Protocols & Distribution Work
January 12, 2021
As the federal government and individual states each make plans for how to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to the public your advocacy team has ongoing efforts and engagement we have undertaken with state leaders on behalf of credit union employees. We recognize the tremendous efforts each of you and all credit union employees have undertaken to meet the needs of your members during a public health crisis that continues into 2021.
While a number of you have been able to make use of remote channels for many employees we recognize and appreciate that some staff have had to and will continue working in a public-facing role as essential service providers to serve credit union members.
While much of the early phases of vaccine roll-out priorities surround health care workers and at-risk individuals especially in congregate housing or other high-risk settings, we have been and remain in communication with the Department of Health, the governor’s office, and the Department of Financial Institutions on the issue. We have worked to ensure key decisionmakers understand and recognize the work of credit union employees in a public-facing role as essential services providers and have shared that workers in those environments should receive the same prioritization as other sectors that also have some workers in a public-facing essential role. While we have largely had these conversations behind the scenes we will be continuing to advocate on behalf of credit union employees and eventually expanding our outreach to local public health officials as some of the prioritization decisions may ultimately end up being made more at the local level.
This is of course a delicate matter as some other industries are conducting aggressive public outreach and we do believe we can carry that message to key decision-makers without the perception that we are advocating for prioritization against other industries, especially in certain areas like health care or emergency first responders.
In my conversations with the Department of Health as recently as last week they did confirm that the latest timeline that includes some very limited essential service retail employees who are also over the age of 50 and have other high-risk classifications does not yet include credit unions, along with many other public-facing essential service employees. They are attempting to make a distinction on the volume of members of the public that the essential workers interact with in this initial phase due to the limited supply of vaccines.
We will continue to work with them moving forward as the majority of the vaccine protocols are still under development, but wanted to make sure you were aware of our ongoing engagement with key officials on this matter. Additionally, based on our conversations with the Department of Financial Institutions they are aware of the role of the public-facing financial services employees and we believe will be amenable to engaging and highlighting that distinction on behalf of the financial services industry as well.
I will continue to share updates on this topic in the coming weeks and months.