(WSYR-TV) — The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by next week, but who will be getting them first?
If there was one for every American, then there would be little debate. But, with short supplies, a panel of independent experts is now recommending who should get it first.
Now, we have some questions about who is on the list and why.
“Which healthcare workers will be eligible for the first doses?”
The answer to that will be up to the states. They may choose to prioritize critical care doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists and other hospital employees. This could include cleaning staff, who are most likely to be exposed.
They might also offer the vaccine to older healthcare workers first or those working in nursing homes.
“Why are nursing home residents included in the first round of vaccinations?”
The elderly in long-term care have been devastated by COVID-19. They account for six percent of cases, but 39 percent of deaths.
“Who gets the vaccine next?”
Essential workers will most likely receive the vaccination next. This includes police, firefighters, correction officers, teachers, transportation workers, factory workers and agricultural workers.
They are at a higher risk for exposure because they can’t work from home. States may decide which essential workers get priority.
“Which high-risk people will be first to get the vaccine?”
Adults with medical conditions that put them at a high-risk and people over 65 will most likely get the vaccine first. But again, some states might decide to vaccinate residents over 75 before some types of essential workers.
It is one thing to decide who is first in line, but it is a whole other issue to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe.
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, vouched for the vaccines and said that the approval process, though accelerated, “does not at all compromise safety, nor does it compromise scientific integrity.”