‘Nobody is thinking about us’: Trade workers left wondering why they can’t get COVID vaccine yet


PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — As Gov. Dan McKee pushes to get educators vaccinated in Rhode Island, other essential workers are questioning when they’ll be prioritized for the shot.

Joe Sturm, owner of Rinfret’s Appliance Service, tells 12 News that work for his three service technicians doesn’t stop during a pandemic.

He said while business was slow at the beginning, it returned to normal within two weeks.

Each day, Sturm said his technicians go in and out of several houses, which puts them in direct contact with their customers for a period of time.

While his employees take the proper safety precautions and customers are generally understanding, he still would like to see vaccines offered to those in the trade industry.

“It’s just an added measure of protection that I think they should have, and I think they should be pushed up the line a little bit,” he said.

McKee has made it one of his top priorities to ensure teachers and school employees get vaccinated.

“Get a shot in the arm of all teachers and related staff, with a high goal of before the end of the month,” he said during his first coronavirus briefing as governor.

McKee didn’t offer any specifics as to how educators would be prioritized, but promised he would announce more details next week.

His promise, however, is frustrating to those in other industries deemed essential.

“Nobody mentions the trades and I’m saying, ‘Jeez!'” Sturm said. “Here we are, we’re exposed and nobody is thinking about us, because we’re just kind of always in the background, you know? We’re always there.”

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