ATA Asks CDC Include Interpreters in Vaccine Guidance

The American Translators Association (ATA) has sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking it “explicitly include on-site medical interpreters among the listed examples of health care personnel (HCP) eligible for Phase 1 [covid] vaccinations.” Right now, states are allowed to dictate their own vaccine roll-out plans while the CDC issues guidance. In North Carolina, at least one hospital staff interpreter has received the shot. In New York City, councilmember Mark Levine wrote an editorial urging “cleaning staff, translators, cafeteria workers and security guards” not be left out of local distribution plans. And in Massachusetts, hospital-based interpreters are mandated in phase one of the state’s rollout plan already.

The letter also asks the CDC consider on-site community interpreters — specifically those who work in schools, state and local government offices, and the courts — as “other essential workers.”


Twenty organizations co-signed the letter, including Association of Language Companies, Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, National Health Law Program and non-industry associations such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. The full text may be read on ATA’s website here.

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