Advisory Group Outlines 'Essential Workers' Next In Line For Vaccine

22 Dec, 2020 Liz Carey


Sarasota, FL ( - First responders, ag workers and grocery store  employees will be the in the next group of American’s to get the COVID-19 vaccination, an advisory group decided over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13-1 to recommend that the Phase 1b group of American’s to get the vaccination should be essential workers and those over the age of 75.

The definition of “essential workers,” the group decided, included frontline workers like firefighters, police officers, educational staff – including teachers and daycare workers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, U.S. postal service employees, public transit workers and grocery store workers, according to a list released by the group.

The group estimated there are about 30 million workers in these essential jobs. Joining the essential workers in the Phase 1b group will be anyone over the age of 75.

“I would like to note that the persons 75 years and older represent 8% of the population, 25% of hospitalizations and have a very high death rate. Frontline essential workers have high exposures. They include a disproportionate share of racial and ethnic persons who also have a disproportionate share of hospitalizations,” Dr. Katherine Poehling, a member of the committee, said after the vote.

‘Other essential workers’ include those in food service; water and wastewater treatment; transportation and logistics; construction, shelter and housing; finance, energy, IT and communication; legal professions and public safety, would be included in the Phase 1c rollout of the vaccine. Those workers are estimated to be about 57 million workers across the country.

Also in the Phase 1c group are adults between 65 and 74, as well as those who have underlying health conditions that put them at high-risk for the virus. When added to the 57 million workers, those eligible for the Phase 1c vaccinations will number nearly 129 million Americans.

The CDC’s Dr. Kathleen Dooling said that the order in which those groups are vaccinated will have little impact on the dynamics of the outbreak.

“Differences between strategies is minimal,” she said. “Vaccinating older adults first averts slightly more deaths, while vaccinating younger adults first, essential workers and younger adults with high-risk conditions, averts slightly more infections.” 

The group’s recommendation now goes to the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, who is widely anticipated to accept the group’s recommendation.

However, it is up to the states to determine who they want to provide the vaccinations to and how.

“My concern is that many localities are not truly following these guidelines in a way they were intended to make sure that those most at-risk and most vulnerable get the vaccine," Dr. Jason Goldman said during the meeting of the Phase 1a rollout approved Dec. 13.

In the first phase of vaccinations, healthcare workers and those living in long-term care facilities are supposed to get the vaccines. It’s estimated that by the end of December, 20 million vaccines will have been distributed, with 30 million being distributed by the end of January and 50 million by the end of February.

Pfizer’s vaccine was given emergency approval in early December, while Moderna’s vaccine was given emergency approval over the weekend. Both companies assume that they will be able to ramp up production of the vaccine over the course of the next few months, but estimate they will be delivering 5 to 10 million doses of the vaccines per week in the coming weeks.









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    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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