Bodega workers demand to be prioritized on COVID-19 vaccine list
Bodega workers say if they are considered essential, they don't feel like it when it comes to vaccine distribution.
They are calling on the mayor and governor to do a better job prioritizing them.
The United Bodegas of America were out Sunday reminding officials how important they are to the community.
Bodega owner Juan Valerio lost his father Enrique to COVID-19 back in April. They ran their family business together in the Bronx.
Valerio believes his 77-year-old dad got the virus while at work.
Valerio says he's lost three family members to the disease and doesn't want to be next, which is why he and other bodega owners are demanding they are prioritized in vaccinations.
Health care workers, nursing home residents and staff were up first to be vaccinated. Next in line are those eligible in the state's group designated 1B. This includes teachers, first responders and people 75 and older who will begin getting vaccinated Monday.
The city tells News 12 it expects front-line essential workers like bodega and grocery store employees to be among those vaccinated in this group, but the state decides who in group 1B is eligible first.
UBA spokesperson Fernando Mateo says bodega workers should be at the top of the list.
"It should also go to people providing, common citizens providing, taking risks, with no benefits at all," he says.
According to the city Department of Health, more than 200,000 New Yorkers have already received the vaccine.