After months of deliberation and discussion, a group of independent specialists representing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed on Tuesday to suggest that health care staff most at risk of transmitting Covid-19, along with patients of nursing homes and other long-term care institutions, be the first American citizens to undergo coronavirus vaccines.
If the recommendation is accepted by the C.D.C. Chairman, Dr. Robert R. Redfield, it would be exchanged with all states who are planning to obtain their first shipment of the vaccine as soon as mid-December. This happens only if the Food and Drug Administration accepts the proposal for emergency usage of the vaccine produced by Pfizer.
States may not have to obey the guidelines of the C.D.C., but most certainly, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, Chief Medical Officer of the Alliance of State and Tribal Health Authorities, which serves state health departments. The council, named the Advisory Committee on Immunization Policies, would meet again shortly to decide on which communities maybe next to obtain priority.
Here are the responses to some of the basic concerns regarding the vaccine and its delivery.
Who’s supposed to have the vaccine first?
The C.D.C. committee proposed that the nation’s 21 million health employees be qualified before anybody else, along with three million mainly older residents residing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Astounding 39% of coronavirus fatalities have resulted in long-term care facilities, according to the New York Times report. However, there will not be enough doses at first to vaccinate anyone in both groups; Pfizer and Moderna, the two firms nearest to receiving certification for their vaccinations, have predicted that they will have enough to vaccinate no more than 22.5 million Americans by January. So each state would have to determine which health care employees will go first.
They can want to offer priority to critical care physicians and nurses, respiratory therapists, and other medical personnel, including cleaners, who are more likely to be exposed to coronavirus. Or they may first sell the vaccine to older health care staff or others employed in nursing homes who are at greater risk of being infected with the virus. Reg. Andy Beshear of Kentucky said on Monday that much of his state’s initial distribution would go to seniors and staff of long-term care institutions, with less going to healthcare personnel.
It’s crucial to note that everyone who has a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine would require a second shot—three weeks later for Pfizer, four weeks later for Moderna’s.
Who’s going to have it next?
Last week the C.D.C. Committee indicated that it would propose that critical staff be next in line. About 87 million Americans work in food and livestock, construction, law enforcement, transportation, travel, prisons, emergency response and other industries. They are at greater risk of being introduced to the infection because their job keeps them from functioning at home. And these employees are overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic, communities that have been extremely hard hit by the virus.
Individual States can decide to include employees in industries that have been disproportionately hit by the virus in this category. For example, Arkansas has suggested adding workers in its broad poultry industry, while Colorado wants to include workers in the ski industry who reside in congregated housing.
The target categories that are expected to be approved by the C.D.C. Committee are individuals with medical problems that position them at elevated risk of coronavirus infection and persons over 65 years of age. But then, certain states might be diverging to a considerable degree, opting, for example, to vaccinate people over 75 years of age before some forms of critical staff. All other adults will follow suit. The vaccine has not yet been extensively tested in infants so that it will not yet be available.