Vaccination Rollout: Recognizing Clergy as Essential Workers

Napa Legal Staff
Policy Report
Policy Report
Issue Area:
Religious Identity

As of April 27, 2021, this report has been archived.

The report’s objective was to draw attention to the fact that, originally, forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed to categorize clergy as essential in the state vaccination rollouts, despite federal guidance.

In the weeks following the report’s publication, the essential role and service of clergy received significant media attention. Several states updated their guidance to include clergy in essential workers eligible for the vaccine. Near the end of March, a spike in vaccine availability caused many states to quickly open vaccinations to all residents. With sufficient vaccine supply, states dispensed with the previous classification and prioritization system, retiring the specific issue of vaccination prioritization of clergy.


Forty-three states and the District of Columbia are failing to prioritize clergy in their vaccine rollouts despite federal guidance. This report from Napa Legal details the issue so that negligent states can update their distribution plans to ensure that clergy are not forgotten as essential workers.

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