Who will get the COVID vaccines next?


A: The next group to be vaccinated, with the catchy title “Phase 1b”, will include people who are 75 years and older, plus frontline essential workers. That includes

👩‍🏫teachers, educational support staff & daycare workers;

👩‍🚒 firefighters & police;

👩‍🌾 food & agriculture workers;

⚖️ jail and prison staff;

📮 postal workers;

🚍 public transit workers;

🍎 grocery store and food supply workers;

👩‍🏭 and people who work in manufacturing.

Phase 1b will start in the next few weeks, and will hopefully be completed by the end of February.

So if you’re in one of these groups: watch for info from your local health department, clinician, or pharmacist about how and where to schedule your first (of two) vaccine appointments!

Phase 1a is now underway, which means that health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities are getting their first dose of vaccines! This group includes an estimated 24 million people–and 4 of Those Nerdy Girls! 💥

The CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices also said that the third group–you guessed it, “Phase 1c”–will include the next highest-risk age band: people 65 to 74 years old. It will also include people age 16 to 64 who have a serious underlying health issue that puts them at greater risk from complications of COVID-19. And, Phase 1c includes all remaining essential workers, such as people who work in banking, media, the justice system, and foodservice.

Note that the CDC just makes a recommendation for rollout–these are intended to be flexible. States and local health departments can alter the priority groups based on demand and local issues, so look for info coming out from your local public health department for specifics.

And if you’re not in one of those groups? The rest of us–including most of the nerds here at Dear Pandemic–can expect to wait until *at least* April. It looks like we’ll need a few more vaccine candidates to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA before we have enough doses to cover more people.  CDC on prioritizing adults over 75.

One more point: are you thinking, dangit why not give twice as many people one shot and get more people covered now?

Stay tuned for a longer answer, but the short answer is that these first two vaccines are designed to be given as two doses, and were only tested for efficacy with two doses. We have *no studies* that tell us whether giving only one dose would be effective beyond a couple of weeks–or if giving one dose to twice as many people would be a waste of *all* the vaccine doses available at this time.

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