Story at a glance
- The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted overwhelmingly to allocate the initial COVID-19 vaccine doses to health care workers and elderly long-term care residents.
- The FDA is getting ready to review at least two vaccine candidates for emergency use authorization.
After ample speculation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally stated that the first available and approved COVID-19 vaccine doses will be allocated to health care and frontline workers, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
Politico reports that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), made the announcement in a meeting on Tuesday. These function more as recommendations rather than mandates, but will help states plan how to distribute the first round of vaccine doses.
The panel approved the recommendations in a 13-1 vote.
Vaccine developers Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca have all reported positive efficacy data in November, with the Moderna and Pfizer in the process of applying their vaccine candidate for the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the emergency use of two shots later in December.
Data presented at the CDC meeting demonstrated that health care workers compose about 243,000 COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and 858 deaths.
Long-term residents are particularly susceptible to severe COVID-19 infection, with one of the first outbreaks in the U.S. centered at a long-term care facility in Washington state.
Data suggests that about 500,000 long-term care facility residents and staff contracted the virus, and almost 70,000 have died.
With the ACIP voting to delegate the first rounds of the vaccine to these two demographics, the decision will head to CDC Director Robert Redfield’s desk for approval.
On Dec. 10 and 17, the FDA’s advisory vaccine committee is poised to meet to review the EUA applications filed by Pfizer and Moderna.
More guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations will be forthcoming.