Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Essential Workers

Importance of COVID-19 Vaccination for Essential Workers

Based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, CDC recommends essential workers be included among those offered the first supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Essential Workers Should be Offered Vaccination in Phase 1b or 1c

CDC recommends that in Phase 1b and Phase 1c, which may overlap, vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups. CDC made this recommendation on December 22, 2020.

While CDC makes recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first, each state has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they can receive vaccines. Please contact your local health department for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.

Will I be required to get vaccinated for work?

The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for individuals. For some healthcare workers or essential employees, a state or local government or employer, for example, may require or mandate that workers be vaccinated as a matter of state or other law. Check with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you. More on COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates & Exceptions.

Examples of essential workers

Frontline essential (Recommended in Phase 1b)

  • fire fighters
  • police officers
  • corrections officers
  • food and agricultural workers
  • United States Postal Service workers
  • manufacturing workers
  • grocery store workers
  • public transit workers
  • those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers)


Other essential workers (Recommended in Phase 1c)
People who work in:

  • transportation and logistics
  • food service
  • housing construction and finance
  • information technology workers
  • communications
  • energy
  • law
  • media
  • public safety
  • public health

Learn more about who is included under the broad term “essential workers”.