Lawmakers: Move up funeral workers in vaccine plan

Boston Statehouse

Funeral director Steven Correa wears gloves as he moves the casket of Gilberto Arreguin Camacho, 58, in preparation for burial following his death due to Covid-19 at Continental Funeral Home on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2020 in East Los Angeles, California. – Gilberto Arreguin Camacho spent over three weeks in the hospital before his death, according to his son. “He had so much love in his heart for his family,” his son Nestor Arreguin said. “He always had advice for you when you needed it. He was a really hard working man. He worked his whole life. Coming home late, working so hard to provide for his family. Im going to try and follow his legacy.” Arreguin worked as an automobile painter, leaving behind a legacy of children and grandchildren. Family members streamed part of the service for relatives in Mexico who were unable to travel due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

BOSTON (SHNS) – More than half of the state Legislature is asking Gov. Charlie Baker to bump up funeral directors and other funeral workers into the first phase of the state’s three-tier vaccination plan, describing that population as “the only COVID-facing workers not placed in Phase I.”

A letter circulated by Danvers Rep. Sally Kerans’ office, signed by 118 lawmakers, says that 33 other states “placed funeral home directors and workers in the same category for vaccination as other health care workers.”

“Ensuring that these workers remain healthy is essential to averting another public health crisis that would arise as a result of a shortage of the personnel trained and authorized to remove and handle the deceased,” the letter said.

Funeral workers currently fall in the second phase of the state’s vaccination timeline, along with people who work in early and K-12 education, restaurants, and foodservice, sanitation, transportation, public works, vaccine development, the court system, medical supply chains, food pantries, utilities, agriculture, retail and shipping ports, and terminals. 

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