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Politics, Policy & Law

U.S., U.K. recommend healthcare workers, long-term care residents among highest priority for COVID-19 vaccination

Dec 2, 2020 | 11:26 PM GMT

CDC Director Robert Redfield has adopted the recommendation by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to prioritize an estimated 21 million healthcare workers and 3 million residents of long-term care facilities in the initial U.S. rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. 

According to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation, long-term care facility residents and staff account for 6% of COVID-19 cases and 40% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

ACIP voted 13-1 on Tuesday in favor of the initial allocation strategy, deemed Phase 1a, and Sara Oliver, an epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC, said at the ACIP meeting that the agency expects about 40 million vaccine doses to be available by the end of December, enough to vaccinate 20 million people. 

Emergency use authorizations (EUAs) may be issued to BNT162b2 from Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:BNTX) and mRNA-1273 from Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) by mid-December, and the U.S. government plans to arrange for vaccine shipments to start within 24 hours of an EUA

The committee expects to meet again following an EUA, and will discuss the next stages of vaccine allocation. CDC has proposed Phase Ib to include essential workers, and Phase Ic to include adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults 65 years of age and older. 

CDC’s recommendation is in line with that of U.K. regulators.

The U.K.’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) on Wednesday expressed its support for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s vaccine allocation strategy, which outlined nine priority groups for vaccination. The highest tier group consists of residents and staff in adult long-term care facilities, and the second includes individuals 80 years of age and older as well as frontline healthcare and social workers. 

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