The National Retail Federation put out a statement Thursday urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to include frontline workers in the retail industry among the early recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine. "Retailers have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic protecting associates, serving customers and keeping the communities in which they live and work safe and healthy," reads a statement from NRF Chief Executive Matthew Shay. "The industry invested billions of dollars to provide protective gear and trainings for their associates and to make the necessary changes to achieve and exceed health and safety recommendations made in municipal, state and federal guidelines... It is critically important those working in our nation's stores, distribution centers, warehouses and throughout the retail ecosystem are among the early recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine." The statement notes that the retail industry directly employs 32 million Americans. The retail organization also sent a letter to the CDC with its demand. Some retailers, like Walmart Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207374728/composite WMT +0.44% , Target Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207799045/composite TGT -0.32% and Home Depot Inc. /zigman2/quotes/208081807/composite HD +0.55% are considered essential retailers and remained open for business throughout the pandemic.