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CSWA - COVID Vaccines for LCSWs - 12-30-20

30 Dec 2020 5:07 PM | CSWA Administrator (Administrator)

Since The Aware Advocate article, Nine Months into the Pandemic: Practical Telemental Health for LCSWs, came out yesterday, I’ve received several questions about whether LCSWs are essential workers and when will they be eligible to get the COVID vaccines.  I hope this will clarify this complicated situation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made recommendations about who should have access to the vaccines and in what order.

There are two Phases, but Phase 1 is divided into three parts when it comes to rolling out the vaccines:

  •  Phase 1a: essential workers who work in hospitals and long term care facilities. 
  • Phase 1b: is for all essential workers not working in 1a facilities, including police firefighters, postal workers, teachers, as well as anyone over 75.
  • Phase 1c: is for all other essential workers such as food service, tech workers, law, public safety, public health, among others, and anyone either between 65-74, and anyone between 16-64 with underlying health conditions. 
  • Phase 2: will be everyone else. 

These recommendations can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations.html .

Note: LCSWs are considered essential workers but whether we fall in 1a, 1b, or 1c depends on where we work and the way that the state we live in is organizing the vaccinations. If we work in a hospital or skilled nursing facility it is pretty clear we would be in the 1a group.  Those of us who are over 75 are clearly in the 1b group.  But all the other factors that affect us make it impossible to say for sure when we you will get be eligible to be vaccinated.

I recommend that everyone google “COVID Vaccination in [your state/jurisdiction]” and find out which state agency is organizing the distribution and policies for how the vaccines will be available.  It may also be prudent to contact your PCP and ask when they may be able to vaccinate you. As you know, some of the vaccines require special refrigeration and may not be storable in doctor’s offices.

Keep in mind vaccination alone may not necessarily make us immune to COVID, but it may certainly help.  Keep following all guidelines for masking, staying 6 feet apart, washing hands, and not spending time in closed spaces with people you do not live with until CDC/HHS say it is safe to stop these practices.  To those of you who have reservations about getting vaccinated, use your judgment and if you choose not to get the vaccine, keep following all the guidelines above.

We will get through this pandemic and are getting closer, even though we may be many months away.  Happy new year to all.

Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice
Clinical Social Work Association
lwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org

PO Box 10
Garrisonville, Virginia  22463

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