WASHINGTON — The American Bakers Association, the Consumer Brands Association and the North American Millers’ Association were among 15 signatories of a June 24 letter addressed to President Donald Trump urging that food and agriculture workers receive the next highest priority for a coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic vaccine, once available. Highest priority currently is set for health care workers, first responders and high-risk individuals.

“The COVID-19 vaccine would help the baking industry protect its frontline employees and keep the supply chain operating,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the ABA. “This request is in addition to the food and agriculture industry’s successful efforts for priority access to sanitizer, PPE and testing.

“At a time when Americans are struggling with stay-at-home orders, layoffs and furloughs, and keeping their families safe, they have been spared the added anxiety of lack of food.”

The industry groups also urged the federal government to coordinate vaccine distribution. 

“Leaving vaccine distribution to the states will result in an inconsistent, inefficient process,” the groups stated in the letter.

The groups added, “Prioritizing vaccinations for food, agriculture, retail and CPG workers will be a key intervention to help keep workers healthy and the food and CPG supply chain operating.”