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Hardik Kalra stocks meat in a cooler at a local supermarket, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that grocery store workers and meat packers receive COVID-19 vaccines in the next phase of distribution.

Right now Kentucky doesn't have any concrete plans, but if it goes along with the recommendation, that means the workers could be in the next phase of vaccinations, alongside first responders.

"We're very happy to see the CDC is keeping our members in mind and not forgetting their sacrifices," said Caitlin Blair, representative of UFCW Local 227.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International union represents 25,000 Kentucky workers.

The union says that across the nation, it's had thousands of exposures and hundreds of deaths from the virus. It says it's been tough to keep its members safe as they have to continue working without hazard pay.

The CDC's latest recommendation says the allocation of vaccines to these workers in the early phases acknowledges their increased risk of getting COVID-19.

"Especially during the holidays, it's important not to forget the sacrifices that those workers have made," said Blair. "They're still very much at risk of catching the virus, and we need them to continue to be able to work to protect our food economy. That's how we protect it is to protect the workers who make it happen."

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday that the state would not make it through the first phase of vaccinations before the end of the year.

The union says it expects the state to go with the CDC recommendation, but Beshear says the group for Phase 1B is huge and will need to be narrowed down.

He plans to announce more plans for the next phases in the state sometime next week.

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