Health and Public Policy

Plans for Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution

In my home state of Massachusetts, the Governor announced a phased plan for distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine to residents today. Other states are likely doing the same thing as they had to submit plans for vaccine distribution to the federal government.

The Boston Globe published the plan here:

The plan was announced as being based on quantities of vaccine that are likely to be approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA soon and that include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna. The plan for Massachusetts was announced as having three phases of distribution.

Phase One: December 2020 – January 2021

The first phase, beginning in December of 2020 prioritizes health care workers, long-term care patients, homeless shelter residents, police , fire and other first responders, etc. Groups in this first phase include:

  • Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-19-facing care
  • Long-term care facilities, rest homes, and assisted living facilities
  • Police, fire, and emergency medical services
  • Congregate care settings, including homeless shelters, corrections facilities and the staff who work there
  • Home-based health care workers
  • Health care workers doing non-COVID-19-facing care

Phase Two: February 2021 – April 2021

The second phase is forecast to begin in February 2021 and extend to April 2021 for the following groups:

  • Individuals with 2+ comorbidities (high risk for COVID-19 complications)
  • Early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers
  • People age 65 and older
  • People with one comorbidity

Phase Three: April 2021

The third and final phase begins sometime in April 2021 for “the general public”.

The potentially hopeful thing about this is that Johnson & Johnson Inc. (J&J) and AstraZeneca Inc. could announce data related to the US trials of their vaccines in January 2021. This would add supply to the available quantities that could accelerate the numbers of individuals who could get vaccinated in the coming months.

So the news of these two more (large) manufacturers of vaccine getting supply to market in the first and second quarters of 2021 could be very good news for those wishing to be vaccinated. This development of potentially having more vaccine than is currently planned is speculative but a positive one. Having larger quantities of the vaccine than is forecast to be available from just Pfizer and Moderna alone could enable the vaccination of larger numbers of individuals sooner than currently planned.

So hopefully science is progressing faster than we anticipated and more supply of the vaccine can help us get more people vaccinated than we can plan for today. As many astute observers point out, the vaccine needs to get into a large percentage of the population to be effective at reducing the spread of the virus. Vaccinating a large proportion of the population will take time and the vaccine will take time to build immunity in those inoculated. But getting more people vaccinated sooner rather than later is encouraging.

2 replies on “Plans for Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution”

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