The 15-member Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to suggest providing priority to the two groups — who include about 23 million Americans.
The rollout of vaccines is supposed to begin in mid-to-late December. According to current estimations, no more than 20 million doses of the two vaccines from drug-makers Moderna and Pfizer will be ready by the end of 2020, indicating the shots will have to be rationed in the early stages.
The ACIP, which was founded in 1964, makes suggestions to the CDC director, who almost always allows them. The panel’s advice has been generally heeded by doctors over the years.
However, the proposal isn’t necessary and state authorities will be able to determine whether to follow the recommendations.
The vote appeared a day after Moderna demanded emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA will be meeting on Dec. 17 to consider the application from Moderna.
It’ll further convene Dec. 10 to consider the application from Pfizer for its vaccine.
The advisory panel will meet at a later date to select who should be next in line for the show — with possibilities including teachers, police officers, firefighters, other essential workers and people with underlying health conditions.Experts say the vaccine probably won’t be widely available until the spring.
In the meantime The United Kingdom on Wednesday approved the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Western country to enable widespread use of a vaccine.
Pfizer replied to the approval by stating it would immediately start shipping limited amounts to the UK. It further expects to get similar recognition from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said the inoculation gives 95 percent protection against the COVID-19 virus, making it both safe and efficient.
The country assumes to start immunization of high-priority groups in a matter of days. The UK ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, with 10 million doses expected soon.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla named the UK decision “a historic moment.” “We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla said in a statement.
The first vaccine approval for mass use issues as more than 59,000 people have passed in Britain from the virus and above 1.4 million people have died from the disease worldwide.