Who Should Get Emergency Approved COVID-19 Vaccine First
An Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, along with representatives from federal science agencies and the health care industry, voted during an emergency meeting online who should get the COVID-19 vaccine first once authorized for use.
The 14 voting members of the committee recommended the first vaccines should be given to to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, long term care homes such as AFC’s and assisted living facilities.
Once a vaccine is authorized for use, most people in these high-priority groups could be fully vaccinated by early next year if a vaccine or vaccines are available by mid-December 2020 as expected.
The CDC estimates that 48 million doses will be needed to vaccinate these groups, which account for about 24 million people.
Health care workers have long been considered to be first in line because they are exposed directly to COVID-19 through their work, and because protecting them and their patients from the virus would help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and keep the health system running. - NPR Morning Edition
However a controversy arose as to whether to add nursing home residents and other long-term care facility residents to the initial priority group. Staff members at such facilities are considered health care workers. Then in a public meeting last week, members of the committee agreed that the death toll in this population, a subgroup of the over-65 category, has been severe. Staff and residents at long-term care facilities represent just 6% of confirmed coronavirus cases but account for nearly 40% of COVID-19 deaths. They were added in the recommendation.
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