A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee voted to give healthcare workers and nursing home residents the first of the COVID-19 vaccines once the doses are rolled out in the coming weeks.
“Most state and local jurisdictions expect to be able to vaccinate their healthcare workers within three weeks,” CDC Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director, Nancy Messonnies, said at Tuesday's meeting.
Nursing home residents, one of the most vulnerable groups to the virus, will also get their shots at the same time as the healthcare workers, the official said.
CDC slides released at the live-streamed meeting showed the agency expecting around 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to be available by the end of December, with shipments of 5 million to 10 million doses being made per week once a vaccine is authorized by regulators.
US Health Secretary Alex Azar told a CBS interview on Monday that if all went well, Americans could get their first shots of the coronavirus vaccine before Christmas, well before any previously anticipated deadline. Azar said this after Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc became the first two drug companies to apply for emergency authorization with the Food and Drug Administration to push out doses to curb the virus.
Some 60 million to 70 million doses could be available per month beginning in January, after the expected FDA approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, said Moncef Slaoui, an advisor to the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” plan on the vaccines.