Grocery workers not in line for next phase of COVID-19 vaccine

Wisconsin's plan for the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations covers essential workers, including teachers, child care providers, law enforcement officers and hospital staff who aren't on the front lines.

In Wisconsin, it doesn't include grocery store employees, as recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the states' second phase of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Grocery store owners, who thought their employees would be included in the next phase, are upset.

Tim Matcalfe owns three Metcalfe’s Market stores, one in Wauwatosa and two in Madison, wrote an open letter to the committee that plans Wisconsin’s vaccination phases.

"Grocery workers have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and are as critical to our food supply as farmers. While our company takes every safety precaution possible for our team, the reality is that this team has been exposed to members of the public every day and put at increased risk of infection for nearly a year now."

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The state said that the CDC’s guidelines were overly broad for who qualifies as a "front-line essential worker," the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Gov. Tony Evers has repeatedly blamed limited access to vaccines on the federal government, not on shortcomings of statewide planning. Several Republican lawmakers have put the blame specifically on Evers’ administration.

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