Personal Care Service Providers need fair access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

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Personal Care Service Providers are not currently listed in any of the vaccine priority phases in the State of Maryland despite the fact that we cannot work from home and spend prolonged periods of time in close contact with our clients. 

We are licensed professionals that deserve to have our safety and our risk fairly considered. We do not believe that we should take priority over frontline healthcare workers, teachers, the elderly, or those living in congregate settings. We understand that there is currently a shortage of the vaccine. We do not wish to “cut the line”. We simply request to be included in the planning, alongside other licensed professionals such as chiropractors, physical therapists, and other outpatient services that have the same risk profile as our workers.

Governor Larry Hogan placed hair salons and barbershops in Maryland’s first phase of reopening. While the state was in a complete shutdown, hair salons and barbershops were permitted to service Essential Workers to ensure that those Essential Workers could meet the uniform standards of their jobs. This clearly defines our services as essential.

We have been touching people, working inches from their faces, since Personal Care Services were permitted to reopen in the spring. We can feel our clients’ breath escaping their masks on our hands and faces while we provide our services. Science tells us that contact time is a key factor in the spread of the virus. It is not uncommon for hairdressers, and other types of Service Providers, to spend several hours working on the same individual without a break. It is unclear if masks can provide adequate protection during prolonged close contact in the presence of a positive case of the coronavirus, particularly as new variants are spreading. The Service Providers in our industry are at an equivalent risk to the majority of outpatient medical providers, all of whom are currently eligible for vaccination in Phase 1A in the State of Maryland. Furthermore, it could be argued that our risk is greater. We spend far longer periods of time in close contact with our clients than many of the professionals that are already receiving vaccinations or named in future phases of the vaccination plan. Personal Service providers need to be protected from serious illness. Our risk should not be overlooked.