Some Restaurant Workers Are Having Trouble Getting A COVID Vaccine. Here's Why

As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue to move forward, localities have started to pick up the pace and administer more jabs than ever. According to The New York Times, the U.S. plans to distribute about 1.5 million inoculations a day, and by July, we should expect the first dose of the vaccine to have reached about half the population. While we can now look forward to the end of the pandemic, some issues have arisen when it comes to who gets the immunization and when.

According to Eater, San Francisco plans to institute Plan 1B on February 24, allowing chefs, dishwashers, waiters, and all other restaurant staff to get in line to get the vaccination. While this news initially appears promising, the act of proving someone works at a restaurant creates some problems. Previously, health care workers and the elderly could easily provide documentation that they fell into the prescribed categories for the vaccine, but when it comes to essential workers who might not have any official job-related documentation, the situation becomes trickier. 

San Francisco city officials stand by the need for these restaurant workers to provide documentation, but these specific papers haven't been finalized by the local organizers in charge of administering vaccination efforts. Talk has arisen that healthcare staff should use the honor system, and take anyone coming in at their word that they work for a restaurant, causing a debate between organizations like Golden Gate Restaurant Association and government officials. Things don't seem any more organized on the East coast either.

Restaurant workers need verification to get vaccinated

COVID-19 decimated New York City's restaurant industry, and the area's vaccination rollout has encountered snags similar to San Francisco. According to Grub Street, NYC doesn't just have to deal with the same documentation issues that San Francisco faces — New York City inoculation centers only stay open for four days a week, face shortages of the medicine, and also need to give the shot to taxi drivers in addition to restaurant workers. Factor in the language barrier of about 60 percent of those now eligible for the vaccine and some hesitancy from certain individuals who want to opt-out, and you have what appears to be an incredible task ahead for those looking to get vaccinated and for those responsible for organizing the efforts. 

One way or another, vaccination efforts should continue to move through, but the disorganization in these large cities has made it much harder for restaurant workers to get the necessary vaccination. Only time can tell what happens next, but with any luck, essential workers who have braved the pandemic while feeding America can get their vaccinations soon. "I feel like we've been on edge since day one because we've been working," New York pastry chef Fany Gerson explained to Grub Street of getting the vaccine. "It was very cathartic."

Keep an eye peeled for more news regarding who is eligible for the inoculation in the coming days and weeks.