US advisers: Vaccinate health workers and nursing homes first

Advisers to CDC recommend that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines.

Ben Ariel ,


Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday voted 13-1 to recommend that both health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration, CNN reports.

The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices voted to include both groups in what they're calling Phase 1a of the CDC's coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

"Long term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently," the CDC said.

"Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure or infectious materials," it added.

According to the CDC, long term care facility residents account for 6% of coronavirus cases and 40% of coronavirus deaths in the US. More than 240,000 health care workers have been infected with coronavirus and 858 have died.

The vote comes as progress continues to be made towards a vaccine. On Monday, pharmaceutical company Moderna applied to the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The company asked the FDA to review an expanded data set showing the vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing COVID-19 and 100% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.

Moderna is the second company to apply to the FDA for emergency use authorization for a coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer applied on November 20, after announcing its vaccine appears 95% effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease.

The FDA is scheduled to meet with its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on December 10 to review Pfizer's application and on December 17 to review Moderna's application.