Academy Advocates for Prioritization of Food and Nutrition Professionals for COVID-19 Vaccine

This article was updated on January 28, 2021.

01/27/2020 - As COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans are initiated across the U.S., states are prioritizing access to ensure those most vulnerable to COVID-19 receive vaccination. While many states have recognized registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered as well as students and interns in their priority plans, others have not or have left their status unclear.

On January 26, the Academy sent the communication below to all U.S. governors, urging them to include RDNs, NDTRs as well their student and interns in the priority groups of those who should rapidly receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Academy noted that access to nutrient dense food and medical nutrition therapy provided by RDNs, NDTRs and their students and interns are crucial in the treatment and recovery from the COVID-19 virus for all people.

The Academy encourages its members who are eligible to receive the vaccine to participate to help minimize the spread of the virus.


Due to their vital role in the feeding and nutritional care of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and in overseeing the production and food delivery systems to school-age children, their families and elderly receiving congregate or delivered meals, among many other populations, registered dietitian nutritionists, nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered and their students and interns have a vital role in safeguarding the health of all Americans and should be prioritized to rapidly receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Patients with severe COVID-19, especially those receiving mechanical ventilation, may require specialized tube feedings calculated and placed by RDNs. Patients with COVID-19 are also at high risk for malnutrition due to the loss of taste and appetite. RDNs are essential in guiding the nutrition care of these people and millions more.

Food and medical nutrition therapy provided by RDNs, NDTRs and their students and interns are crucial in the treatment and recovery from the COVID-19 virus for all people.

Please ensure that these nutrition professionals are rapidly vaccinated, so that vulnerable populations will not be at even greater risk.