The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously expanded the definition of "essential workers" to incorporate out-of-school time workers, including camp staff. To support that move, CDC recently made changes to their website that explicitly list camp staff in Phase 1b of their vaccination prioritization. 

Although CDC has recommended that camp workers be deemed as essential workers, each state governor ultimately decides which workers are deemed essential in their state. The language included on the CDC website details the clear intention of CDC to have camp staff included in the vaccination prioritization. The first step is determining in what order essential workers are being vaccinated in your state. 

  • CDC vaccine tool screenshotStart by using the CDC’s How Do I Get a Vaccine? tool. Using the tool is easy — select your state from the dropdown menu and you will be directed to your state’s eligibility requirements and vaccination sites. 
  • Determine if your state’s health department has listed any of the following categories as Phase 1b Essential Workers.  
    • Education and Child Care (Note: may be listed in separate categories) 
    • Out-of-School Time  
      * Categories may be listed as subcategories depending on the health department.  
      * Some health departments have online forms/apps to determine eligibility. 
  • Once you determine that you and your staff meet the eligibility requirements, seek a vaccination site using the How Do I Get a Vaccine? tool

What if Your State or Local Health Authority Says No?

If your state or local health authority indicates that camp staff, specifically, or out-of-school time workers, generally, are not being included in the Essential Workers category, you have a few options. 

For state health officials, determine if camps in your state have a formal or informal group advocating for appropriate rules for camp in 2021 (or other statewide issues related to camp). If you do, then use reference in information available on the CDC website listed below to advocate for the acceleration of the vaccination of camp staff. 

If your state does not have an advocacy group, refer to ACA’s State Advocacy Toolkit on the best practices related to statewide advocacy on behalf of the camp industry. 

If your state is prioritizing camp staff as essential workers, but your local health authority is not, you can advocate for their inclusion using your state health authority’s information along with the CDC information below. 

CDC Information Regarding Day and Overnight Camp Staff as Essential Workers 

In the link listed below, the following considerations have been added to CDC guidance regarding vaccination priority:  

Interim List of Categories of Essential Workers Mapped to Standardized Industry Codes and Titles   


Some subcategories within these NAICS groupings industries are designated as essential critical infrastructure by CISA but are not contained within any of the large workforce categories explicitly included by ACIP:  

  • 7212 RV (Recreational Vehicle) Parks and Recreational Camps 

Additional Notes about specific industries: 

aThis includes workers who are providing these services outside of a fixed workplace (e.g., street outreach workers). 

bWorkers in other industries whose duties involve child day care (e.g., day camps, after-school activities) may also be considered for 1b prioritization. 

References and Notes 

1How Do I Get a Vaccine? tool 

2State Health Departments 

3CDC Prioritization of Camp Staff for COVID-19 Vaccinations