An advisory committee to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet next week to decide who will get a Covid-19 vaccine first, according to a longtime member of the committee.
Members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices received notice last week that they’ll meet Nov. 23 for five hours, according to committee member Dr. William Schaffner.
A spokesperson for the CDC confirmed the meeting.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Sunday that he expects the first vaccinations to occur “towards the latter part of December.” But there won’t be enough vaccine for everyone to get it at once, so the CDC will set priorities.
Among the first to get the vaccine will be health care workers, and essential workers, and in addition, those over age 65 and people with underlying conditions because they are at high risk for complications from Covid-19.
The question is what order these groups should be in, Schaffner said.
“Health care workers are baked in – that’s the first thing to happen, no doubt about that,” said Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
After that, the committee members will need to define what underlying conditions would merit getting a vaccine early on, and what defines “essential workers.” That group could include everyone from police officers to supermarket clerks.
“There have been huge ethical discussions about this,” Schaffner said.
The CDC committee was expected to make a decision about prioritization months ago, but did not.