Despite being essential, grocery workers among last to be vaccinated in Tennessee

The push for grocery workers to be vaccinated sooner
Posted at 6:42 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 21:49:45-05

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — They’re some of the unsung heroes during this COVID-19 pandemic, yet grocery workers are also some of the last essential workers to be vaccinated in Tennessee.

Angel Wimberly says her work family has become closer in the last year. "We've not taken time off since this thing happened and we don't plan on taking time off again."

She's a customer service leader at Kroger in Mt. Juliet. Rain or shine- she's on the job.

"We can't just not come to work. You still have the needs that you need on an everyday basis, so we still have to come and provide those services for you guys."

Wimberly is one of many grocery workers who won't receive a COVID vaccine until Tennessee reaches Phase 3. Meanwhile, the Center for Disease Control recommends grocery workers be vaccinated in Phase 1.

"We kind of wish we were at the beginning of the phases. I have family members that have health issues that I've not been able to see in quite some time due to that process. I have in-laws that I can't see a lot because I'm in the public a lot," said Wimberly.

Counties across Tennessee are still in Phase 1- that means it could be months before grocery workers are vaccinated.

Wimberly said, "no I don't think that they do get the credit that they deserve sometimes. We work super hard. We work super hard to provide a shopping experience for customers that's out of this world and I've seen a lot of people not get the credit that they deserve for the time that they've put in. But then again, we have customers that are great at uplifting us everyday."

She said she respects the state's vaccination process and will patiently wait until her turn.

When vaccines do become available to grocery workers, Kroger will give $100 to employees who receive the entire recommended dose.