The Silver Spring, Maryland-based Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is urging all solid waste workers in the private and public sectors to receive COVID-19 vaccinations and to get booster shots as they become available.
In a late August press release, SWANA says, “Getting vaccinated is the best way to reduce the number of deaths and serious illnesses associated with the coronavirus, which has killed more than 630,000 Americans and nearly 27,000 Canadians since early 2020. As essential workers, it is critical for all employees in the solid waste industry to be vaccinated.
David Biderman, SWANA executive director and CEO, says, “Far too many people in the United States and Canada have died from the virus, and in the wake of the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine and with a similar approval for Moderna expected shortly, SWANA calls on solid waste employees who are not vaccinated to protect themselves, their co-workers and their families.”
Biderman recently spoke at a SWANA Region 6 conference in Roanoke, Virginia, about COVID-19 and other topics, and several attendees mentioned that family members were receiving the vaccine in response to the FDA’s recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, SWANA has been the industry leader helping local governments and private companies navigate these uncharted territories,” says Brenda Haney, SWANA president and solid waste director in the city of Lubbock, Texas.
Haney adds, “SWANA partnered with [trash bag manufacturer] Glad to distribute money to solid waste employees and their families affected by COVID-19, was selected by the federal government to distribute more than 2 million masks to the solid waste industry and advocated at the national and state levels for solid waste workers to be prioritized for the vaccines in early 2021.”
Some of the Federal Emergency Management Association masks were made available to attendees at the recent SWANA Region 6 conference and others will be available to Wastecon participants. Wastecon is scheduled to take place Nov. 1-4 in Orlando, Florida, and will include sessions on how the industry will recover from the pandemic, says SWANA.
SWANA describes itself as an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals involved in solid waste management and resource management and offering technical conferences, certifications, publications and technical training courses.