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CDC updates vaccine recommendations

Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 18:23:26-05

(WXYZ) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its recommendations on who should be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Priority is being given to healthcare workers and older adults. Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi is here with more on the CDC guidelines for the distribution of the vaccine. And, Dr. Nandi, we understand you have already been vaccinated …

Dr. Nandi:

That’s right. I received the vaccine yesterday, and so far, I haven’t experienced any side effects, except for a slightly sore arm from the injection. I’ll keep you updated in the coming days.

As a healthcare professional, I am in the group the CDC says should be first to get the vaccine, because we are potentially in direct contact with infected patients every day.

Since the vaccine supplies are limited, the agency is recommending the vaccine gets distributed in phases, according to who is at the highest risk. This first group is Phase 1a. It also includes residents of long-term care facilities.

Next in line are seniors ages 75 and older and frontline essential workers, such as first responders, educators, and grocery store workers. That’s Phase 1b.

And then Phase 1c covers everyone ages 65 to 74, along with people 16 to 64 who have high risk medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. Other essential workers are also in this group.

Then Phase 2 would offer up the vaccine to anyone ages 16 to 64.

Question: Do children under the age of 16 need to be vaccinated? And how many people are expected to get the vaccine in Phase 1?

Dr. Nandi: Research is still underway on a COVID-19 vaccine for children and adolescents. The CDC is closely monitoring clinical trials and will consider making recommendations when a vaccine is authorized for use in kids under age 16. Meanwhile, the CDC estimates that more than 200 million Americans could be vaccinated by the end of Phase 1.

Question: Does the CDC know when each phase will roll out? And when is the vaccine expected to reach everyone?

Dr. Nandi: The CDC made the recommendations to help guide federal, state and local authorities on who should get priority. However, it does not have a timeline for when the vaccine doses will be available for each Phase. It all depends upon the vaccine supplies. The best guess is that most Americans should have access to the vaccine by the end of 2021. So, we need to be patient and continue to wear masks, social distance and wash our hands.

Let's stay safe and prevent further spread of the virus while we await the wider distribution of the vaccine.