Since March, several companies including BioNTech and Pfizer have been racing towards producing the first COVID-19 vaccine. The time when that race ends is quickly approaching with the CDC saying that limited doses could be going out to the highest risk individuals by late October. With this approaching, there has been increasing debate on who should get the first doses and how it should subsequently be rolled out when it is more widely available.
Phased Distribution Plan
There was a committee formed recently by the National Academies Of Science, Engineering, And Math to discuss and decide on a vaccine distribution plan. The method they are suggesting is a 4 phased plan where they give priority to higher-risk individuals. The phases are suggested to be:
- Phase 1: Workers in health care facilities, first responders, and seniors with underlying health conditions and those who live in nursing homes or other crowded environments.
- Phase 2: Essential workers who are required to work in high-risk environments, teachers and school staff members, people of any age with underlying health conditions, older adults, and people in homeless shelters and prisons.
- Phase 3: Young adults and children.
- Phase 4: Everyone else in the United States.
This plan is aimed to save as many lives as possible considering vaccine supplies will be limited, especially when first released. The National Academies committee is trying to do this by delivering the vaccine to the most at-risk individuals first.
Skepticism and Controversy About COVID-19 Vaccine
Although the clinical trials are looking bright and the timeline is still on track, there is a large portion of the population who is still skeptical of a COVID-19 vaccine. In a recent Gallup poll, around a third of Americans would choose to remain unvaccinated for the disease even if it were given to them at no cost.
Along with this, there has been quite a bit of controversy over the distribution plan with different organizations having different ideas of who is the most at risk and needs to be prioritized. At this point, the exact measures for how the vaccine will be distributed are still yet to be determined but it will likely begin happening soon.
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