An independent advisory committee within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention passed a proposal Tuesday that recommends health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities be the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1.
The two groups make up about 24 million people out of a U.S. population of 330 million.
Dr. Andrew Jameson, an infectious disease doctor at Mercy Health St. Mary’s, is one of them.
“I will be getting a vaccine,” said Jameson. “I’m excited about getting a vaccine and I feel the vaccine is something that’s going to be safe and effective based on what I know so far.”
Jameson agrees health care workers should be at the front of the line when the vaccine is available and says long-term facilities account for a high percentage of the country’s deaths and hospitalizations.
“If you knock out the workforce that’s actually delivering care to people… that’s not just for COVID, but even non-COVID care, our society and communities will grind to a halt,” said Jameson.
A draft of Michigan’s COVID-19 vaccination plan prioritizes the critical populations.
Jameson says his only worry is the logistics of rolling out the vaccine, explaining while it was a fast development, the technique used to make the vaccine has been utilized in other therapies for a number of years. He adds the transparency in Pfizer and Moderna’s preliminary data and the process they went to obtain it is reassuring.
Available data leads Jameson to believe people will experience pain at the vaccine’s injection sit and have a headache after receiving it, but believes explaining the side effects now will help with vaccination efforts since people will know what to expect.
“I would not be asking other people, whether they’re health care workers or people int the community, to do something that I’m not comfortable doing for myself and for my family,” said Jameson. “I’m going to be doing that for myself and I’ll be one of the first people to get vaccinated so I can lead by example and know what I’m telling people they might expect and those kind of situations.”