Who gets Covid-19 vaccine next? Older adults and 'frontline essential workers,' CDC advisers recommend

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted on who will receive the next wave of vaccinations in the US. CNN's Natasha Chen has the latest on the groups receiving vaccines in phases 1b and 1c.

Posted: Dec 20, 2020 7:14 PM
Updated: Dec 20, 2020 7:15 PM


Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted 13-1 on Sunday to recommend that both older adults, ages 75 and older, and "frontline essential workers" including first responders be next in line to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

That would put those people in "Phase 1b" of allocating the vaccine nationwide.

That committee vote also included prioritizing adults ages 65 to 75, people ages 16 to 64 with high-risk medical conditions and "other essential workers" in "Phase 1c" of allocation.

"They really serve to address the current lack of vaccine supply and address those individuals with the highest risk for disease," Dr. José Romero, chair of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said about the recommendations.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met on Sunday to discuss Phases 1b and 1c of vaccine distribution.

In a previous meeting earlier this month, the group voted on Phase 1a, which advised giving the first round of vaccines to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

There are two Covid-19 vaccines -- Pfizer/BioNTech's and Moderna's -- currently authorized for emergency use in the United States.

Who is an essential worker?

A work group within the advisory committee defined frontline essential workers as "workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at substantially higher risk of exposure" to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

The frontline essential workers in Phase 1b include first responders, people in the education sector, those who work in food and agriculture, those in manufacturing, corrections workers, US postal service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers.

It is estimated that there are about 30 million frontline essential workers in the United States.

The category of other essential workers in Phase 1c includes people in transportation and logistics, food service, construction and shelter and housing, finance, IT and communication, the energy sector, the media, the legal sector, public safety and water and wastewater industries.

It is estimated that there are about 57 million other essential workers in the United States.

The 'hardest' vote

"This is without doubt the hardest vote that I have taken in my six and a half years on the committee," said Romero.

"I am confident that we have arrived at this by examining the data thoroughly, and that what we are providing -- as has been stated before -- the ultimate decision will be at a local level. But what we are providing governors and health officials with is a framework, which is supported by evidence," Romero said.

He voted "yes" on the proposed Phase 1b and 1c recommendations.

Committee member Dr. Peter Szilagyi, who also voted "yes," agreed that the decision was difficult.

"I truly wish everyone could get the vaccine today, and I know high-risk individuals are not included in Phase 1b," said Szilagyi, who is in the department of pediatrics at the University of California at Los Angeles. "But over several months, as vaccine supply ramps up, every American will have access to these safe and effective vaccines."

The one "no" vote came from Dr. Henry Bernstein, who is a professor of pediatrics with the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra. Bernstein explained that he voted no because he felt that the science about Covid-19 morbidity and mortality is similar between the 65-to-74 group and the 75-and-up group.

"Therefore, inclusion of the 65-to-74-year-old group in Phase 1b made more sense to me," Bernstein said.

The need for funding

In their vote, most of the committee members also asked the government to fully fund state and local health departments vaccination programs.

"The fact that the state and local health departments have not been funded for vaccination program, especially in the context of the billions of dollars that funded the extremely successful program to develop vaccines is really appalling," said Dr. Beth Bell, who voted "yes" on the proposal.

"I'm just one person, but I would just like to say, again, that I hope that the government will address this discrepancy, without which I think it's going to be very difficult for us to be successful," said Bell, a clinical professor in the department of global health at the University of Washington.

The advisory committee's recommendations for Phase 1b and 1c go to the CDC next for final acceptance.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 749097

Reported Deaths: 13745
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1030271775
Lake554211006
Allen41613691
St. Joseph36933564
Hamilton36505416
Elkhart29347459
Tippecanoe22849225
Vanderburgh22540400
Porter19313325
Johnson18386387
Hendricks17583317
Clark13190193
Madison13111344
Vigo12602253
LaPorte12385221
Monroe12152175
Delaware10947197
Howard10250225
Kosciusko9609119
Hancock8541144
Bartholomew8158157
Warrick7854156
Floyd7763180
Grant7227179
Wayne7154201
Boone6911103
Morgan6735141
Dubois6211118
Marshall6205116
Cass5989108
Henry5893108
Dearborn588878
Noble579786
Jackson508374
Shelby500697
Lawrence4727121
Gibson444093
Harrison440473
Clinton439855
DeKalb438585
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Whitley405642
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Steuben398659
Miami392568
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Jay200832
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Perry186937
Rush175626
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Newton112636
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Union72810
Ohio57811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1106796

Reported Deaths: 20091
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1284601459
Cuyahoga1155792204
Hamilton812751245
Montgomery524631040
Summit48327999
Lucas43289817
Butler38886603
Stark33275929
Lorain25631502
Warren24554303
Mahoning22327601
Lake21133385
Clermont20095252
Delaware18815135
Licking16643222
Fairfield16552204
Trumbull16520479
Medina15592270
Greene15246246
Clark14216306
Wood13276197
Portage13226214
Allen11904239
Richland11596211
Miami10832223
Wayne9112222
Columbiana9016230
Muskingum8889135
Pickaway8646122
Marion8633138
Tuscarawas8633247
Erie8049164
Ashtabula7136179
Hancock6995131
Ross6932161
Geauga6831150
Scioto6525104
Belmont6148174
Union583549
Lawrence5722102
Jefferson5669158
Huron5539122
Sandusky5433125
Darke5414129
Seneca5342126
Washington5307109
Athens523360
Auglaize501587
Mercer487385
Shelby476195
Knox4567112
Madison443665
Ashland435097
Putnam4333103
Fulton431871
Defiance431798
Crawford4031110
Brown401861
Logan387177
Preble3847103
Clinton378166
Ottawa372581
Highland359165
Williams347578
Champaign343558
Guernsey324153
Jackson317254
Perry297150
Morrow291240
Fayette285450
Hardin274865
Henry273267
Holmes2697101
Coshocton268359
Van Wert247264
Adams242856
Pike242735
Gallia240450
Wyandot234556
Hocking220062
Carroll196648
Paulding176342
Meigs148240
Monroe136144
Noble135739
Harrison113638
Morgan109624
Vinton85417
Unassigned03
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