The prospect of getting the COVID-19 vaccine seems more like a reality than a distant hope these days. With the subsequent approval and roll-out imminent, the only question everyone is concerned about is: how will the vaccine be distributed – or, more specifically, who will get it first? For those eagerly waiting to line up for the vaccine, these answers, and the vaccine itself, are coming soon… very soon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled an emergency meeting for December 1 to determine who gets vaccinated first, reports the Associated Press.
The committee is expected to vote on Tuesday, December 1 on who should be the very first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, once approved. After making their recommendations on who to vaccinate and when, CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, will decide whether or not to implement them.
The agenda for the emergency vaccine meeting was released on Friday, November 27. While it doesn’t give much, the committee’s early deliberations, which were published in the CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report (MMWR), suggested four key groups will be among the first to be vaccinated, as the CDC qualifies as “Phase 1a”.
The meeting is scheduled for December 1 at 2 p.m. ET, the vote taking place at 4:40 pm ET. But in the meantime, read on to see who could be in “Phase 1a” of the COVID-19 vaccine.
1. Health personnel
In its first report in MMWR, the committee suggested that the country’s 21 million healthcare workers should be the first to get vaccinated.
As of November 29, CDC figures suggest that at least 242,366 cases of COVID have been recorded in the profession, including 857 deaths.
“The ability of essential workers, including healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers, to stay healthy has a multiplier effect,” the CDC report says.
This means that their ability to “stay healthy helps protect the health of others and/or minimize disruption to society and the economy.” And if you’re curious about what the vaccine looks like, check out Side Effects of the COVID-19 vaccine Doctors Are Worried About.
2. Other essential workers
According to the CDC, this group of 87 million people includes police, firefighters, teachers, grocery store workers, and transport workers.
“For me, the issue of ethics is very important, very important for this country and clearly favors the core group of workers,” Peter Szilagyi, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, told The New York Times recently, California to Los Angeles.
He also pointed out that many of these workers belong to minority and low-income groups, who have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
3. Adults with high-risk medical conditions
This group, which includes more than 100 million Americans, could also be among the first to receive the COVID vaccine. The CDC report notes that, as of October 31, “nearly 90 percent of people with hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 have at least one high-risk condition,” making people with comorbidities an important group to protect.
4. Adults over 65 (including residents of long-term care facilities)
The final group the CDC seems to be considered for priority vaccination is the elderly, especially those over 65. The committee notes that the challenge of immunizing this group “will require targeted outreach to immunize people in this group who lack access to health care or experience inequities in the social determinants of health.”
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