ATA Requests the CDC to Explicitly List Interpreters as Essential Workers Eligible for Phase 1 Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed ATA’s December 17 request to include medical interpreters and other onsite interpreters as essential workers eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the Phase 1 schedule. Former CDC Director Redfield responded that the CDC’s guidelines are recommendations and that state and local public health authorities can make their own decisions on vaccination schedules.

Read ATA’s December 17 letter to CDC requesting Phase 1 eligibility for medical interpreters

Read the CDC’s response to ATA’s December 17 letter

Now, ATA urges the new CDC Director, Dr. Walensky, to explicitly include onsite medical and interpreters in other settings, such as the courts, among the listed examples of frontline essential workers eligible for Phase 1 vaccinations. ATA also asks that onsite court interpreters be moved from the 1c level to the 1b level, especially in light of reports from around the country that they are being exposed to unsafe working conditions. (See Table 3, Phase 1c–Court.)

Read ATA’s January 22 letter to the CDC requesting Inclusion of onsite interpreters in Phase 1 vaccination schedule

What You Can Do as an ATA Member
  1. Understand that the CDC guidelines are recommendations only. Each jurisdiction has discretion over its vaccination schedule.
  2. Share ATA’s letter and a personal note of your own with your state and local public health departments, your city’s hospitals/clinics, and your healthcare provider.
  3. In your note, point out that the CDC guidelines are recommendations and that each jurisdiction is allowed to make its own decisions on its vaccination schedule, based on the particular needs of its community.
  4. If you are an onsite court interpreter and you find yourself working in unsafe environments, explain what is happening in your personal note.
  5. Send ATA’s letter to your district’s legislators, reminding them about the vital function you perform for their constituents.
  6. Encourage your colleagues to do the same.
Advocacy Can Work!

We have heard from interpreters in California and elsewhere that they were able to receive early vaccinations with the support of ATA’s letter to the CDC. Now is the time to stand up and speak out! And please let us know about your successes, failures, and responses.

Email the ATA Advocacy Committee at

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