Health & Fitness

The CDC panel will vote on Tuesday on who will obtain the coronavirus vaccine first


A panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will vote on Tuesday on who will be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP], an external group of medical experts advising the CDC, comes the day after Moderna applied to the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency clearance for its Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer, who works with German drug maker BioNtech, applied for the same approval on November 20th. US officials expect the first doses of one of the vaccines could be distributed in a few weeks – before the end of the year.

Since the pandemic started about 11 months ago, infectious disease scientists and experts have been debating who to get vaccinated first and how those limited first doses will be distributed in the U.S.

Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar told CNBC on Nov. 16 that around 40 million vaccine doses will be available by the end of this year, which is enough to vaccinate around 20 million people, given both Moderna and also require two vaccinations from Pfizer. At best, the FDA will act quickly to approve these two so that states can start distributing in just two weeks.

The initial doses will be limited as production increases. Leading US health officials predict it will take several months to vaccinate anyone who wishes to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the US. The company has made agreements with several drug manufacturers to buy some of the first doses.

Pfizer said there could be up to 1.5 billion doses worldwide by next year, with the US receiving the first 100 million doses of its vaccine with two doses – enough to vaccinate 50 million of the 331 million people in America. Moderna said Monday that it is on track to produce 500 million to 1 billion doses of its two-dose regime worldwide over the next year.

The United States, which spent nearly $ 1 billion on developing the vaccine at Moderna, agreed to pay $ 1.5 billion more to make it. The deal also gave the US its first 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine – enough for 50 million people – with the option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.

Public health officials and medical experts said health care workers should get the vaccine first, followed by vulnerable Americans, including the elderly, people with pre-existing medical conditions and key workers. ACIP will send its guidance to the CDC. Ultimately, however, it will be up to states whether to follow CDC guidelines on vaccine distribution.

President Donald Trump previously told reporters that a coronavirus vaccine should likely go to the elderly or the most at risk first, although he added that he would rely on a doctor's expertise to make that decision.

Adm. Brett Giroir, the tsar for coronavirus testing at the White House, told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that the Trump administration would "immunize against effects."

"That means immunizing those at the highest risk, such as those in long-term care facilities, the elderly and minorities. We can absolutely get 80% of the vaccine benefit by immunizing just a few percent of the population," he said and reiterated that the US should have enough doses to vaccinate 20 million Americans this year. "The rest of America will get it in the second quarter, third quarter of 2021, but we could maximize our impact now."

While states don't have to follow CDC guidelines, it gives them a framework to work with that many states are adopting, said Dr. Karen Landers, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Health, in a telephone interview.

"This guide will be extremely helpful as it will be scientifically sound and will give us the framework to make sure our guidelines are in line with the recommendations of the support staff, "she said." The Alabama Department of Health will follow these recommendations, and we will certainly follow ACIP's recommendations regarding vaccine administration. "

In a report released on November 23, the CDC's Advisory Committee identified four ethical principles for distributing the first doses of a potential vaccine. The committee said the allocation of Covid-19 vaccines "should maximize the benefits of vaccination for both individual recipients and the population at large."

"These benefits include a reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19-associated morbidity and mortality, which in turn puts a strain on overburdened health care facilities and maintenance of services essential to the COVID-19 response and maintaining it diminishes the overall functioning of society, "the committee wrote in the report.

Some federal agencies have already started sending vaccination schedules to employees. Five agencies have told their employees that they could get the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna in just eight weeks, a person aware of these plans told CNBC on Nov. 20.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was backing "first mass air delivery" of Covid-19 vaccines on Friday as drug companies and airlines prepare networks for widespread use. United Airlines transported Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine from Brussels to Chicago O & # 39; Hare International Airport, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.


Katherine Clark