PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – COVID-19 vaccinations are officially available for educators in Oregon, and some other frontline workers are wondering when it will be their turn to get the vaccine.
FOX 12 spoke with concerned transit workers saying they come into contact with hundreds of people a day and could be driving infected people to the hospitals, yet they can’t get their shots yet.
The president of Amalgamated Transit Union 757, which represents TriMet employees in Portland, Shirley Block, says her members are scared of catching this virus and feel like they’re getting left behind.
Block says members of her union say it’s not fair that they have to work without getting access to the vaccine right now. Many of her drivers live in fear because they operate buses that stop at hospitals and clinics, possibly driving COVID-19 infected people daily.
She says many of them don’t feel safe doing their jobs so much so that some just can’t come to work right now.
“A lot of them are in fear. I have quite a few of them that took the COVID leave,” Block said. “Some of them, especially the ones that are older ones, they don’t know if they are going to go back to work because they can’t get the vaccine, cause they are at an age group that don’t quite qualify for the 65 and older, but they are still 58-60 years-old. They want the vaccine as well.
Block said that when they were making the COVID-19 plans for vaccinations, she hoped bus drivers would be included in the 1A group.
Some of her union members will have the opportunity to get vaccines. Right now, bus drivers can get vaccinated to get children back to school safely and as soon as possible.
Block says that she hopes that the rest of the transit industry can get moved up higher to get vaccines more quickly.
The governor’s office says that the Vaccine Advisory Committee is deliberating now when those frontline workers, like transit workers, will be eligible for the vaccine.