CDC panel says health workers, nursing homes will get Covid vaccine first

Berkeley Lovelace Jr. Will Feuer CNBC

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted 13-1 on Tuesday to give health-care workers and long-term care facility residents the first coronavirus vaccine doses once it’s cleared for public use.

There are roughly 21 million health-care workers and 3 million long-term care facility residents in the United States, according to a presentation during the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advises the agency. Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said most states and local jurisdictions expect it to take three weeks to vaccinate all of their health-care workers. Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two doses about a month apart.

The meeting comes as states prepare to distribute a vaccine in as little as two weeks. Moderna and Pfizer have both requested emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for their Covid-19 vaccines last month. The reviews by the FDA are expected to take a few weeks, and the agency has scheduled a meeting for Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer’s request for authorization.

Since the pandemic began, scientists and infectious disease experts have debated who will get immunized first and how the limited first vaccine doses will be distributed across the United States. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNBC on Nov. 16 that about 40 million doses of vaccine will available by the end of this year, enough to inoculate about 20 million people since the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two shots.

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