The U.S. Department of Labor announced a new program designed to encourage and help America’s miners to get the COVID-19 protections that vaccinations offer.
The department’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) will pilot the Mine Vaccine Outreach Program to deliver free vaccinations in mining communities and provide educational outreach to mining communities in Kentucky and Arizona on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that vaccination rates are below 60% in the two states where a substantial number of mining operations exist.
Participation in MSHA’s Mine Vaccine Outreach Program is voluntary and free for mine operators in Kentucky and Arizona. Program representatives will collaborate with the states’ mine operators to identify convenient locations, coordinate with health professionals to administer vaccine services and develop communication programs to address the community’s questions and concerns.
In January, the agency held a public vaccine clinic at the Kentucky Crushed Stone Association Safety and Education Seminar in Louisville, Ky. Also, MSHA hosted two vaccination clinics in Arizona for mine employees at the Asarco Ray Mine in Kearny and Asarco Mission Mine in Sahuarita.
“The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration exists to protect the safety and health of the nation’s miners from hazards in their workplaces,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health Jeannette Galanis. “COVID-19 has killed more than 900,000 people in the U.S. alone and like other mining hazards, it demands we take action to prevent workers from suffering needlessly. Providing free COVID-19 vaccinations is a natural extension of our efforts to ensure safe workplaces.”