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Scarce early vaccine supply should go to health workers, nursing homes -U.S. health advisers

12/01/2020 | 05:46pm EST

NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A panel of advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday voted 13 to 1 to recommend that healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities should be first in line to receive the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines when they become available.

The CDC said at a meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that it expects only 5 million to 10 million doses will be available per week once U.S. regulators authorize vaccines.

That may require state and local officials tasked with distributing the vaccines to designate sub-groups within those categories who are at highest risk of complications from COVID-19.

The initial scarcity should only last a few weeks. Ultimately, the CDC expects to have as many as 40 million doses of vaccine available by the end of the year, which would cover roughly 20 million individuals.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said most state and local jurisdictions expect to be able to vaccinate their healthcare workforce within three weeks of receiving the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago and Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; writing by Caroline Humer; Editing by Peter Henderson and Bill Berkrot)

© Reuters 2020
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