When can YOU get the vaccine? It depends on your health, occupation and where you live

Chief Scientific Adviser of Operation Warp Speed Dr. Moncef Slaoui tells CNN's Jake Tapper why those who have already been infected with Covid-19 still need to be vaccinated.

Posted: Dec 22, 2020 9:22 AM


With two Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use and politicians, health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities rolling up their sleeves, it's a natural question: What about me and my loved ones?

A lot of factors play into the answer, and it depends on each person's health, what they do for a living and where they live.

States will handle immunization campaigns differently, experts say. Some campaigns may be smoother than others, but if there is one piece of advice to keep in mind, it's this: Keep taking measures to protect yourself and your family until you're inoculated.

That means continuing to wear masks, socially distance, avoid large gatherings and regularly wash your hands.

"People just need to be patient," said Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers. "They need to be vigilant and protect themselves from the virus."

As for when Americans can lower their guards and get back to in-person socializing, "I would leave that to Dr. (Anthony) Fauci," she said, referring to the nation's top infectious disease expert and President-elect Joe Biden's incoming chief medical adviser.

You have more questions; here are more answers:

Who is getting vaccinated first?

As has been widely reported, health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are first in line, followed by adults ages 75 and older and frontline essential workers like first responders.

The next phase will be adults between 65 and 75, those between 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions and "other essential workers," according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Who is an essential worker?

The ACIP defines front-line essential workers as anyone employed in "sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure" to the coronavirus. Besides first responders, that includes those working in education, food, agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, the US Postal Service, public transit and grocery stores. There are roughly 30 million people in this category.

Jockeying for the vaccine

Other essential workers, according to ACIP, are people working in transportation, logistics, food service, construction, housing, finance, information technology, energy, sanitation, media, law, public safety and the water/wastewater industries. The category includes about 57 million Americans.

When will the general public get the vaccine?

This is a moving target that will be dictated by numerous variables. Dr. Vivek Murthy, Biden's nominee for surgeon general, said he believes it may take until late spring to finish vaccinating high-risk populations if all goes according to plan. That means mid-summer may be a "realistic" timeline for the general public to begin vaccinations, he told NBC.

"If everything goes well, we may see a circumstance where, by late spring, people who are in lower risk categories can get this vaccine," he said, "but that would really require everything to go exactly on schedule. I think it's more realistic to assume that it may be closer to mid-summer, early fall when this vaccine makes its way to the general population."

A recent ACIP chart indicated the general public may start getting the vaccine in about 20 weeks -- which would put the target in May -- which is "kind of in line with what I was thinking, too," Hannan said.

Because states will handle rollouts differently, Hannan says it's a good idea for people to monitor state health department websites for specifics. Some states are setting up "public-facing dashboards," and she expects others will allow residents to register to sign up for updates, she said.

What factors drive the rollout phases?

The two main factors are supply and demand, essentially, how many people receive the vaccine and how much vaccine is available, Hannan said.

While Pfizer/BioNTech's and Moderna's vaccines have already received emergency use approval, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca have vaccines in the works, which if approved, would increase supply, she said.

On the demand side, it will depend how many people in the first vaccination phases line up for the injections. If the numbers are high in those priority groups, it will take longer to move to the general public phase, Hannan said.

"So far, it does look like there is high demand, that health care workers are excited to get the vaccine. They're lining up to get it. They're posting pictures of themselves getting it," she said.

Health professionals don't want doses sitting around unused, so there will be disparities from state to state. For instance, she said, if priority groups in one state are more hesitant to get vaccinated, it may reach the general public faster because the state will move to the next phase to utilize the doses it has on hand.

What power do states have?

The vaccine providers have committed to following ACIP guidelines, but there is significant leeway, providing the states flexibility, Hannan said.

"States will give their own guidance, and just by virtue of where they send the vaccine, states are making decisions about who is getting it first," she said.

ACIP provides "the compass that everyone is following," she said, but states have discretion when it comes to matters like underlying conditions and essential workers. One state might choose, based on its circumstances, to prioritize the elderly or long-term care facilities over health care workers.

In the 2009 swine flu pandemic, young children were at especially high risk, so many states intensely focused on children and health care workers, while other regions saw rapid improvement in their numbers and were able to shift their focus to the general public sooner. Rhode Island was still administering vaccinations in schools while Texas was distributing vaccines to pharmacies, Hannan said.

"The categories are broad enough for states to be more focused or less focused on certain populations," she said.

With doses limited, as they are now, observers aren't seeing much variation from state to state, but it should be more apparent as the vaccine becomes more available.

Who is making decisions at the state level?

It will ultimately fall on state governors to make calls on who gets the vaccinations and when, Hannan said.

However, most states have advisory committees or tasks forces in their health and preparedness agencies that will provide recommendations to governors. State officials can also lean on ACIP guidance, and the CDC has a jurisdictional playbook, which the National Association of County and City Health Officials says outlines the "strategy for delivering and administering a COVID-19 vaccine as quickly and efficiently as possible."

"It's difficult for governors to stray too far," Hannan said. "Hopefully, we won't see it get political."

What if people try to cut the line?

Concierge medical services in California have already reported wealthy residents are seeking to pay thousands to skip the queue for the Covid-19 vaccine. Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to monitor the situation and ensure ethical standards are maintained so "those with means, those with influence are not crowding out those that are most deserving of the vaccines."

It's a matter each state will have to handle individually, Hannan said, but in the grand scheme of a nationwide vaccination campaign, it isn't the most troubling concern.

On one hand, it's an indicator of high demand, which means more vaccine acceptance, she said. On the other hand, those administering the vaccine have enough to worry about without being burdened with checking everyone's identification, occupation or medical history. It's all a matter of balance, she said.

"We don't want to be turning people away, and we don't want vaccine sitting around," she said. "States are going to have to address it when situations like this arise, rather than make people go through a lot of hoops. ... I don't think it's a great thing, but I'd rather have that than people not wanting the vaccine."

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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