LANSING, Mich. — Just days into the vaccination of frontline health care workers many are asking who’s next.states are beginning to roll out their plans. But timing is still very much in the air. Ash-Har Quraishi reports on how experts say the vaccine priority list should roll out.
For the last nine months, the check out lines have not slowed. Barbara Eastman owner happy foods groceries shared “we took one day off. we took off Easter Sunday. We closed the store and said everybody's got to take a break.”
Essential workers like grocery store staff have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to keep the shelves stocked and Americans fed. In many cases taking great risk themselves. Jon Wipperfurth who, despite taking every precaution came down with the virus.
John Wipperfurth, a grocery store worker “I just took a little time off and came back a little more cautious afterwards. but I was cautious before. that was the real scary part.”
In fact, researchers at Harvard University recently found that supermarket workers who had direct contact wth customers were about five times more likley to contract COVID-19 than their colleagues who didn’t interact with customers. It’s one reason experts like Lori Post - Director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and an Emergency Medicine Professor at Northwestern says essential workers following health care workers should be a priority.
“They can't work remotely they must show up to work they need to be vaccinated they're high up on the priority list.” Right now, across the country frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facilities are at the top of the list. But Post says these groups factory workers, correctional officers, inmates and disproportionately affected black and brown communities should be prioritized ahead of healthy adults.
The exact timeline for when the general public could get vaccinated is difficult to pin down. Additional emergency approvals could accelerate a potental summer rollout to healthy people. But even after the vaccine is widely available and a distribution plan is in place, it will likley take months more before restrictions are eased.
"Best case scenario next summer middle of summer and the summer that we're going to we're going to have be able to have enough vaccines,” and, for those who have worked hard to keep the economy going and Americans eating they are still ready and waiting in line
“Most of us are looking forward to being vaccinated and being safe and being part of that group that's gonna make everybody safe.”
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