January 23, 2022

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Here Are The States Breaking From CDC Guidelines On Vaccine Priority


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the Covid-19 vaccine should go to healthcare workers first—guidance most states seem to be following—but many states have indicated they will deviate from the CDC’s suggestion on who gets it next: people 75 and older and essential workers.

Key Facts

States prioritizing older residents over essential workers: Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma (adults with pre-existing conditions included) 

States prioritizing essential workers over older residents: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Nevada. 

States prioritizing older residents and people with preexisting conditions over essential workers: Hawaii (first responders were included in the first phase), Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas

States prioritizing people with preexisting conditions over older residents and essential workers: North Carolina

What To Watch For

States yet to announce specific guidance for a second round of shots: Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming. 

Key Background

The panel recommending vaccine priority for the CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), drew controversy after it initially recommended essential workers get immunized before people over 65-years-old and those with high risk medical conditions in the second round of vaccines. Faced with a limited supply of vaccines, some states are already indicating they will ration doses differently than the CDC recommended for the second round, known as “Phase 1b,” though many have not finalized their criteria.


States are not required by law to adhere to CDC guidelines, but most followed the recommendations for the so-called “Phase 1a group,” which outlined who should get the first round of shots.

Big Number

17.6 million. That’s how many healthcare workers and long-term care residents fall into the Phase 1a category, according to an estimate from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Phase 1b group is around 49 million people, according to CBS News. 

Surprising Fact

More than 1.1 million people have been vaccinated in the U.S. already, according to a tally conducted by the New York Times

Crucial Quote

“The vaccines are going to be targeted where the risk is going to be greatest, and that is in our elderly population,” Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said during a press conference this week. “We are not going to put young, healthy workers ahead of our elderly, vulnerable population.” Florida is home to more than 3 million people over 70-years-old. 

Further Reading

Trump Administration Reaches Deal For 100 Million Additional Doses Of Pfizer’s Vaccine (Forbes)

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna Test Vaccines Against New Covid-19 Variant Spreading Across U.K. (Forbes)

DeSantis Will Not Prioritize Florida’s Essential Workers For Covid Vaccine, Breaking With CDC Panel Guidance (Forbes)

COVID-19 vaccine plan means some states will lag in getting shots to highest-risk groups (USA Today)

Source News