When Vaccine is Limited, Who Gets Vaccinated First?

Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.

The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:

  • Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
  • Preserve functioning of society.
  • Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.

Common side effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine - click to view .pdf from the CDC

 


Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (Phase 1a)

CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. This is referred to as Phase 1a. CDC made this recommendation on December 3, 2020.

Healthcare Personnel

Based on recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts, CDC recommends healthcare personnel be among those offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Healthcare personnel include all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

This recommendation pertains to paid and unpaid healthcare personnel working in a variety of healthcare settings—for example, acute care facilities, long-term acute care facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, home health care, mobile clinics, and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers and physicians’ offices.

Examples of healthcare personnel include:

 

  • Emergency medical service personnel
  • Nurses and nursing assistants
  • Physicians
  • Technicians
  • Therapists
  • Dentists
  • Dental hygienists and assistants

 

  • Phlebotomists
  • Pharmacists
  • Students and trainees
  • Contractual staff
  • Dietary and food services staff
  • Environmental services staff
  • Administrative staff

Long-term Care Facility Residents

Making sure LTCF residents can receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as vaccines are available will help save the lives of those who are most at risk of dying from COVID-19. According to ACIP’s recommendations, LTCF residents include adults who reside in facilities that provide a range of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently. The communal nature of LTCFs and the population served (generally older adults often with underlying medical conditions) puts facility residents at increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19. By November 6, 2020, approximately 569,000–616,000 COVID-19 cases and 91,500 deaths were reported among LTCF residents and staff members in the United States, accounting for 39% of deaths nationwide.

Groups who should be offered vaccination next (Phases 1b and 1c)

CDC recommends that, in the next phases (Phase 1b and Phase 1c), vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups. CDC made this recommendation on December 22, 2020.

Phase 1b

Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)

People aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.

Phase 1c

People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19.

People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.

People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.

Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.

As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more groups

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, ACIP will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.

Information gathered from CDC website

 


COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States​ from the CDC