On Sunday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel recommended that frontline essential workers and persons 75 years and older should be next in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13 to 1 to recommend 30 million frontline essential workers, which include first responders, teachers, food and agriculture, manufacturing, U.S. Postal Service, public transit, and grocery store workers, be the next priority for the vaccines. However, it wasn’t immediately clear when the next round of vaccinations would begin.
About 200 million people including non-frontline workers, persons in the 65-74 age group, and those aged 16-64 years with high-risk conditions should be in the ensuing round, the panel recommended. The group had already recommended that frontline healthcare workers and nursing home residents be the first priority groups. Mortality rates are highest in older adults who contract COVID-19, with the 75-years-and-older population accounting for 25% of COVID-19 associated hospitalizations.
Federal authorities have said that vaccine production will ramp up in the coming months. Officials for U.S. Operation Warp Speed have said that they will distribute enough doses for 100 million Americans to be vaccinated by the end of February. The first 2.9 million doses of Pfizer Inc’s vaccine were shipped on Dec. 13. They expect to distribute an additional 2 million doses this week as well as 5.9 million doses of Moderna Inc’s vaccine.