Who is Next in Line for Vaccines? – ACIP December 20 Recommendations

Regulation | December 21, 2020 | by Jill Schumann

On December 20, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made recommendations about which groups should be prioritized for the next phases of COVID-19 vaccination. This is nonbinding guidance, as states make the final determination regarding vaccine distribution.

On December 20, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made recommendations about which groups should be prioritized for the next phases of COVID-19 vaccination. This is nonbinding guidance, as states make the final determination regarding vaccine distribution.

Vaccination is already underway for priority group 1a, which, in most states, includes healthcare workers and long term care residents. In the first week of vaccinations, more than 500,000 people were given initial shots. ACIP recommended that tier 1b should include people over age 75 (about 20 million people) and essential front line workers (about 30 million people). The essential workers include firefighters and police; teachers and school staff; those working in food, agricultural and manufacturing sectors; corrections workers; U.S. Postal Service employees; public transit workers; and grocery store workers.

Moving to phase 1c, ACIP recommends vaccinating people ages 65-74; individuals between the age of 16-64 with high- risk medical conditions; and essential workers not vaccinated in the 1b tier. ACIP members stated that they were trying to find a balance between preventing illness and death and maintaining the functioning of society. They further recognize that as production and distribution of the vaccine ramps up, states will need to prioritize the order of vaccinations within each group. Slides from the ACIP meeting are available here.