CDC Panel Prioritizes Vaccine Distribution to Health-Care Workers

December 2, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met yesterday to decide which populations should be the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine after one is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and endorsed by the committee.

The committee voted 13 to 1 to recommend health-care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes should be the first people to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Both groups will be given equal priority during the first stage of distribution, known as phase 1A.

Previously the committee has discussed whether the next phase of distribution, called 1B, might include essential workers, people with high-risk medical conditions and adults aged 65 and older. Essential workers may include people who work in the education sector, though there was no mention of higher education in the latest committee meeting.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on Dec. 10 to discuss Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The two-dose vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective in phase-three clinical trials. If approved, distribution of the vaccine could begin this year, but initial supplies will be limited.

Although the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' actions yesterday were closely watched, U.S. officials have previously said states will have the final say in who gets early vaccine doses.

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