COVID-19 Vaccine: How Does the Rollout Affect the Manufacturing Industry?

Pfizer, Moderna and other companies are or are preparing to distribute their COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. states and territories. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has made recommendations on the allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine given that demand will exceed supply into mid-2021. ACIP has recommended that (1) health care personnel and (2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered the COVID-19 vaccine first, followed by individuals over the age of 65 and workers in essential and critical industries.

We have more questions than answers regarding the roll out of the vaccine, but a few important points:

  • CDC and federal agencies will continue to provide guidance on the allocation and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. Many of these guidelines will relate to restrictions and responsibilities for employers. As an example, the EEOC just this week issued guidance related to the vaccine and compliance with non-discrimination, ADA and other equal employment opportunity laws. IPC will work to keep you abreast of these regulatory notices, but please leverage your existing resources, including legal counsel, to understand how best to support your employees getting vaccinated. 
  • While the federal government is helping to coordinate the distribution of the vaccines to states, governors will determine the allocation of vaccines within their own states. Independently and in concert with industry peers, IPC is beginning to communicate with governors about the importance of appropriately prioritizing that vaccination for manufacturing workers. Please monitor developments in your own state regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and let us know if we can support advocacy in your state.    
  • ACIP is continuing meetings on the prioritization of populations, including essential workers, and we expect that the governors will largely follow ACIP’s recommendations. As of now, however, there is no line you can put your company in for access to the vaccine, and you cannot buy the vaccine directly from the pharmaceutical companies. As supply begins to better match demand, expect that companies will have increased opportunities to purchase the vaccine from distributors, including health care organizations, and retailers, like Walgreens and CVS. You should begin considering your options and initiating discussions with the appropriate entities in your community.

The federal government, in concert with state and local authorities, are mounting a vaccination program of unprecedented speed and scale. To this end, there are many questions not yet answered, but IPC will work with you to elicit answers from federal and local authorities to keep our industry operating.