Some Americans should start getting the first Covid-19 vaccine today. It will take months before everyday people get the shots

Some Americans should receive the first Covid-19 vaccine as...

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 9:00 AM

Some Americans should receive the first Covid-19 vaccine as soon as Monday, providing a glimmer of hope nearly a year into the worsening pandemic.

First in line will be two groups considered to be exceptionally high risk -- health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

The groups are part of what federal health officials call Phase 1a of the vaccine distribution plan. Together they add up to about 24 million people.

Residents of long-term care facilities have been especially vulnerable, accounting for about 40% of coronavirus deaths in the US.

With cases soaring across the country, protecting the health of doctors and nurses is crucial. More than 240,000 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus and nearly 900 have died, according to the CDC.

But state health officials and governors across the nation may not receive enough vaccines in the initial shipments for the top priority groups.

States will have to prioritize who should get the vaccine first. And limited first shipments will ultimately affect when members of other groups down the line roll up their sleeves, leaving timetables fraught with uncertainly.

Essential workers could be on deck

Experts advising the CDC have recommended that the next group to receive the vaccine -- perhaps in January -- include essential workers, such as emergency medical technicians and police officers. Also included are older adults living in congregate settings or crowded conditions.

The first part of the four-phase vaccine rollout might include people of all ages with underlying conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease considered to be at a higher risk of dying or getting severely ill from Covid-19.

It's possible that the US will still be in the first phase of vaccination in March given the sheer numbers of people involved. Anyone healthy and under 65 who is not an essential or a high-risk worker should not expect to get vaccinated until later.

The timetable will depend on the number of vaccines to get FDA approval and when that happens -- and, of course, how many doses are available. The vaccine requires two doses: one to prime the body, and then a few weeks later, a second shot to boost the response.

The CDC estimates there are 21 million health care personnel, 3 million long-term care residents, 87 million essential workers, 100 million adults with high-risk medical conditions and 53 million others 65 and older.

The federal government anticipates that 40 million doses of vaccine could be available in the US by the end of December if both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are approved.

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday voted to recommend Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and older. The vaccine this week received emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.

Next phase could include teachers

Again, depending on whether more vaccines have been approved, the second phase could begin by April.

Phase 2 might include kindergarten-12th grade teachers and staff and other child care workers, as well as other critical workers such as retail workers and transportation workers. This group could also include people in homeless shelters and all people over 65 who were not already included in the first phase.

Phase 1 and 2 combined would cover about 45% to 50% of the US population, according to an independent committee to help policymakers fairly allocate and distribute a coronavirus vaccine.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told the Senate in August he did not think the general public would be able to get vaccinated until the "late second quarter, third quarter 2021." April is the beginning of the second quarter of the year.

What about the rest of the population?

The rest of the population is going to have to wait for months before rolling up their sleeves for a vaccine.

Phase 3 would include young adults, children and workers in industries essential to the functioning of society and at increased risk of exposure who were not included in the first two phases. Phase 4 would include everyone else.

So healthy adults under the age of 65 and children may well have to wait until the spring or even the summer, depending on how many vaccines get approved, how quickly they can be manufactured and distributed, and how the debate goes over allocation.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that groups receiving the vaccine over the next four months will likely include those in "high priority groups."

"I would project by the time you get to April, it will be ... 'open season,' in the sense of anyone, even the non-high priority groups could get vaccinated," Fauci said.

Pharmacy chains and big-box stores are also gearing up to deliver vaccines -- including places where people normally get flu shots, grocery store pharmacies and physician offices.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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