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EveryLibrary Calls on State and Local Health Officials to Prioritize Librarians and Library Workers in Vaccination Plans

EveryLibrary: “Librarians and library workers in public libraries and academic libraries are essential and should be included in state and local Phase 1b or Phase 1c vaccine distribution plans to protect staff and minimize risk to patrons and users. School librarians are included in plans for the education community and should continue to be prioritized.  EveryLibrary is concerned that the CDC’s December 22, 2020 Interim Guidance on vaccine distribution does not include most librarians and library workers as either Phase 1b or Phase 1c priorities for vaccinations. This omission is particularly troubling because the CDC’s APIC July 2020 working group report had included librarians in its definition of “essential workers”. With the approval of both the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines, the focus has now shifted to state and local health departments for implementation of their vaccination plans. Because we recognize that the Guidance from the CDC is not an order, we are calling on state and local health officials to correct the omission of librarians and library workers and include them in their Phase 1b or Phase 1c vaccination plans. It is important for state and local public health officials to recognize that public and academic libraries perform regular and necessary “frontline services” every day. All library workers, staff, and librarians are therefore in a high-risk group. State and local vaccination plans should consider both the nature of the work librarians do as well as the clear social and educational benefits that libraries accrue. Including librarians and library workers in their Phase 1b or Phase 1c distribution plan will allow our sector to fully reopen public libraries to public service and campus libraries to all students while protecting staff and vulnerable populations. Waiting to until Phase 2 to inoculate librarians and library workers will continue to put our colleagues on the front lines to unnecessary risk and delay significant benefits to our society…”

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