The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on Tuesday to designate health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities as the first groups to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
The advisory board voted 13-1 to allocate the first batch of vaccine to these two high risk groups though the decision is ultimately left up to the states.
Healthcare workers are on the frontlines and usually provide care to the patients infected with the virus. According to Business Insider, the committee voted overwhelmingly to provide the first dose of the vaccine to physicians, nurses, technicians, EMTs, pharmacists, and anyone else who may be exposed in a healthcare setting.
Some members of the board like Keipp Talbot questioned whether residents of long-term-care facilities should be included in the first phase of the rollout. Dr. Talbot is concerned about how older adults would react to the vaccine and whether it would be effective, given the limited clinical-trial data for that age group. Talbot voted against the recommendation.
“We have traditionally tried a vaccine in a young healthy population and then hoped it works in our frail, older adults,” Talbot said in the meeting. “That concerns me on many levels, particularly for this vaccine.”
A FDA advisory committee is scheduled to review Pfizer’s request for emergency-use authorization on December 10.
So, frontline healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities could be given their first shot by mid-December.