The National Press Photographers Association, which represents the visual journalists working in newsrooms across the country, is asking that all journalists who have direct contact with the public on a regular basis, “and particularly visual journalists,” get access to the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as it is distributed to frontline, essential workers.
In a request to the CDC, the NPPA wrote the following in regards to visual journalists’ needs to be vaccinated:
Visual journalists cannot work from home, and have put their health and lives at risk on a daily basis to cover both the Covid-19 pandemic and other matters of public concern, including matters critical to the health and safety of the public and critical to our democracy. These journalists must work in the conditions they find—regardless of the risk. While others have the option to walk away from large crowds, or to avoid members of the public that don’t follow CDC health guidelines, visual journalists repeatedly put their own safety at risk to document what is occurring and inform their communities, large and small. As a result, we have seen visual journalists become infected, hospitalized, and even, unfortunately, succumb to Covid-19.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, according to the NPPA’s memo, has recognized journalists as critical infrastructure workers.
NPPA respectfully urges the committee to recognize not just the risk that visual journalists face, but the essential benefit that their ability to safely report on their communities provides to their communities as a whole, by providing early access to the vaccine in order to further protect the important work of these individuals in gathering and disseminating news, information and images to the nation and the world.
You can read the letter here.