COVID-19 vaccine

CDC Issues Guidance on Who Should Get COVID-19 Vaccine First

Millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are set to be available by mid-December, but the vast majority of Americans likely won’t be eligible to receive it – yet.

On December 2, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel advising the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), met for four hours before voting 13-1 to recommend the first doses go to residents and staff of long-term care facilities.

The lone dissenter was infectious disease specialist Dr. Helen Talbot, who voiced her concern about giving the vaccine to a population that hasn’t yet been studied in the trial phases. “We enter this realm of ‘we hope it works and we hope it’s safe,’ and that concerns me on many levels,” she said.

The rest of the panel, however, believe that the benefits outweigh the risks, and it’s not difficult to see why. Although only one percent of Americans reside in long-term care facilities, 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths occur there.

It is estimated that as many as 22.5 million people could receive their first of two doses by the end of the year, with 6.4 million doses becoming available within days of the FDA approving the Emergency Use Authorization.

Although this is enough to vaccinate the three million people currently residing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, it won’t cover all of the 21 million healthcare workers. The CDC recommends that care facility staff and frontline workers should have priority.

Early doses will be allotted to individual states based on population, and although the distribution hierarchy will ultimately lie with each state’s governor, it is expected that most will follow the CDC’s recommendation.

Once healthcare workers and care facility residents are vaccinated, it’s likely that “essential” workers will be next in line. This group would include first responders, teachers and school staff, correction officers, grocery store workers and those who are unable to work from home.

It could still be months before the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to the general population, which means it’s more important that ever to comply with appropriate PPE guidelines. Keep your PPE stock organized and accessible with affordable PPE caddies from Protection First.