First vaccines will go to healthcare workers and nursing homes

A government advisory panel on Tuesday recommended two groups receive the limited supply of COVID vaccines if they are approved by the FDA next week.

Two vaccines are up for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration next week: One from Pfizer and one from Moderna. Both have been under trial for the past several months and are reported to be more than 90% effective at protecting recipients from COVID-19.

Initially, there will be a limited amount of vaccines available, raising the question of who should receive the vaccines first. A government panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, voted 13 to 1 on Tuesday to issue the first doses of the vaccine to healthcare workers and nursing home residents, according to the Associated Press.

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What’s happening: Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have separate COVID-19 vaccines under consideration. A panel of the FDA is scheduled to begin reviewing trial data for the vaccines December 10. If approved, vaccines could begin being delivered to states by mid-month.

In a report by Bridge Michigan, the state’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said “a few hundred thousand” doses of vaccines could come to Michigan by late next week.

Distributing the vaccines will be incredibly complicated. Both vaccines must be kept below freezing for the duration of their transportation and during storage before administration. Kalamazoo County’s Department of Health and Community Services is already in the process of obtaining special freezer units capable of storing the vaccines.

What’s next: It will be a while before enough vaccines to treat the general public become available.

The same government panel that recommended first recipients would also make a recommendation on who would get it next. Likely candidates would be other frontline workers including police officers and teachers.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Khaldun said most people will likely have to wait.

“We hope to … be able to have vaccine available to the general public by late spring,” she said.

You can read more here.

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