These 5 People Will Get the COVID Vaccine First, Dr. Fauci Says
Dr. Fauci says these five groups will be first in line for the COVID vaccine once it's approved.
Pfizer and Moderna recently announced their phase III COVID vaccine trial results, each declaring their candidates more than 90 percent effective and safe for use. This uplifting news couldn't have come at a more desperate time, as America's coronavirus death toll tragically topped a quarter of a million people this week. Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), spoke with NPR's Morning Edition to shed light on what might come next: chiefly, when the first doses of the COVID vaccine will become available, and who will be first in line to be inoculated once they are. Read on to hear what he had to say, and for more on the COVID vaccine, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Many People Need to Get Vaccinated to Stop COVID.
"The timeline of getting the doses into the vials and available for vaccination are going to be a graded process," Fauci began. "It's not going to happen all at once." As he explained, both candidates are currently in the process of filing for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and pursuing licensure. The first round of vaccinations could be given as soon as the end of next month—meaning Dec. 2020—to people on a "priority list" that will be determined by an advisory committee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The list, Fauci said, will be driven by dual purposes of protecting those most at risk and reopening the economy. Read on to find out who will likely top the list, and for more advice from Fauci, check out the 4 Places Dr. Fauci Says He Wouldn't Go Right Now.
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Heath care workers
"We hope that we'll be getting vaccine into people [in December]," Fauci told NPR. "The recommendation of who that will be will be finalized by the CDC—[but it] likely will be health care workers." And for more updates on getting inoculated, You Need to Quit This Bad Habit Before Getting a COVID Vaccine, Study Says.
People who are high risk
In the same breath, Fauci mentioned that "people who are at a high risk for serious disease" will also be prioritized.
As someone who is over the age of 65, 79-year-old Fauci is considered to be in a high-risk group. People often ask him when he'll personally feel comfortable getting a vaccine, and his answer when asked by The New York Times recently was encouraging: "It's pretty easy when you have vaccines that are 95 percent effective. Can't get much better than that," he said. And if you're curious about how the trials are going, check out This Is What Getting a COVID Vaccine Feels Like, Volunteers Say.
NPR interviewer Rachel Martin asked Fauci if teachers would be high on the list for the COVID vaccine, to which Fauci said, "Oh, absolutely." The Wall Street Journal argued this week that vaccinating teachers directly after health care workers would be a "vital" step in our efforts to restart the U.S. economy. And for more news on kids and COVID, check out The CDC Just Quietly Removed Its Most Controversial Guidelines.
Child care providers
In referring to teachers, Fauci also confirmed that child care providers will be high priority for the COVID vaccine. And for more regular updates on the pandemic, sign up for our daily newsletter.
People who are deemed important to society
In further explaining the CDC's graded list, which has yet to be confirmed, Fauci said, "It will be a list in which you go from people who are either at a highest risk or are important to society." He didn't specify who exactly.
Then, after vaccinating the priority group, the general population can expect access to the COVID vaccine "by the time you get to, let's say, the end of April, the beginning of May, June, July, as we get into the second quarter," Fauci said. And for who will be much lower on the list, check out If You're This Age, You May Be Last to Get the COVID Vaccine, Fauci Says.