On Tuesday, an advisory committee to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said that healthcare workers, and workers and residents at nursing homes should be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available. The committee held an emergency meeting in Atlanta to discuss the allocation of initial supplies of a vaccine, which could become available as soon as this month.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 in favor of prioritizing the groups, which also includes staffers and residents at other long-term care facilities. This first group of recipients will be known as Phase 1a and will include some 23 million Americans.
In later phases, those expected to be included are people at high risk due to underlying conditions, those over the age of 65, essential workers and healthy adults and children. The committee will meet at a future date to determine subsequent phases of the vaccination program. State governors will ultimately make the decisions about who will receive the vaccine doses from Pfizer and partner BioNTech, which could start distribution as soon as next week. Members of the administration’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program have said the most vulnerable Americans should be vaccinated early.
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