In a recent interview with NPR’s Morning Edition, Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), made headlines when he said that as we get closer and closer to a successful COVID-19 vaccine, the plan for its rollout is starting to come together. “It will be a graded list. It will be a list in which you go from people who are either at a highest risk or are important to society,” he explained. “And then as you go down the list, it gets to people who are less at risk for serious disease.” But now, that graded list for the COVID vaccine is starting to take shape. The expert Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is charged with working out exactly who receives the vaccine and when, met on Monday to discuss questions raised by this issue, The New York Times reports. There will be a vote to follow, likely by mid-December, after which final recommendations will be given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, deciding whether or not to implement them.
From the committee’s deliberations, which were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, these are the groups who will likely receive the COVID vaccine first. And for more on the vaccine, check out How Many People Need to Get Vaccinated to Stop COVID.
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Health care personnel
A sub-group of the committee had already suggested that the nation’s 21 million health care workers should be first in line for the vaccine. The CDC’s latest figures suggest that at least 232,497 cases have been recorded in the profession, along with 836 deaths.
“The ability of essential workers, including health care workers and non-health care workers, to remain healthy has a multiplier effect,” the CDC’s report reads. That means their ability to “remain healthy helps protect the health of others and/or minimiz[es] disruption to society and the economy.” And if you’re curious about the side effects of the vaccine, check out This Is What Getting a COVID Vaccine Feels Like, Volunteers Say.
Other essential workers
This group of 87 million people will include police, firefighters, teachers, grocery store employees, and transportation workers. “To me, the issue of ethics is very significant, very important for this country and clearly favors the essential worker group,” Peter Szilagyi, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles, told The New York Times. He also pointed out that many of these workers are from minority and low-income groups, who have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. And for more on how the vaccine works, read up on why You Need to Quit This Bad Habit Before Getting a COVID Vaccine, Study Says.
Adults with high-risk medical conditions
This group, which includes more than 100 million Americans, would be next in line for vaccination. The CDC’s report notes that as of Oct. 31, “nearly 90 percent of persons with COVID-19-associated hospitalizations have at least one high-risk condition,” making those with co-morbidities an important group to reach. And for more regular COVID news delivered right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Adults over 65 years (including residents of long-term care facilities)
The final group of the four would be senior citizens, with a program of vaccination that “reduces morbidity and mortality in persons with high incidence of COVID-19 disease and death.” However, the CDC notes that the challenge “will require focused outreach to vaccinate persons in this group who have no or limited access to health care or experience inequities in social determinants of health.” And for more on the latest with COVID-19 in your area, check out This Is How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.