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VERIFY: Who will get the vaccine first?

The Verify team spoke with a liaison representative to the committee advising the CDC. He said the consensus is that healthcare workers should be first.


Who is likely to get the vaccine first, once it's approved by the FDA?


Healthcare workers are likely to be first. While there have not been any final decisions, the committee advising the CDC has said that this group should go first. There is a strong consensus in the public health community that this group should be at the top of the list. 

After healthcare workers, the CDC has listed various groups, which would be considered for early vaccination, including workers in essential and critical industries, people with underlying conditions, and those over 65. 



With promising announcements about a possible vaccine for COVID-19, there's a growing interest from people across the world, about when they might get a vaccine. 

The Verify team turned to public health experts to learn more about which groups of people will get the vaccine first, once it's approved by the FDA. 

Dr. William Schaffner, a liaison representative for the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, spoke with the VERIFY Team on Facebook Live Thursday evening to discuss.

ACIP is a federal advisory committee made up of medical and public health experts. The CDC makes vaccine recommendations based on input from this committee. Schaffner said that there's a clear consensus that healthcare workers will be first in line for the vaccine.

"Those individuals who have first contact with people with COVID," he said. "Or who might have COVID will receive the vaccine first. This includes first responders. It includes people who work in nursing homes."

After healthcare workers, the pecking order becomes less clear, according to Schaffner. He said there might be more decisions at their next advisory meeting, scheduled for November 23. 

Generally speaking, the CDC has reported on their website that there are three other groups being considered for early COVID-19 vaccination: Workers in essential and critical industries, people at risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, people 65 years and older.

Dr. Schaffner said there's still debate about which of those groups should get vaccinated next. 

"Should it be people who are most vulnerable," he said. "Older persons, people with underlying chronic illnesses? They suffer disproportionately from COVID. Or should it be people who keep us constantly going in society? Long-distance truckers. The people who work in our pharmacies and our supermarkets.”

The live stream for the next ACIP meeting can be found here.

The agenda for that next meeting can be found here.