High-risk healthcare workers and first responders should receive the COVID-19 vaccine first, followed by people with “significant” risk of severe disease due to chronic conditions and older adults in congregate settings, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) said on Friday.
The “jump-start” phase is comprised of workers who not only have a high risk of acquiring COVID-19, but also “have a hugely important role to play in terms of keeping our healthcare system available for people in the midst of this pandemic,” said committee co-chair Helene Gayle, MD.
The final recommendations about the four “phases” of vaccine allocation appeared mostly unchanged from a draft released in early September, after 1,400 written comments and a 5-hour online public session attended by nearly 2,500 people.
Notably, although the National Academies’ sponsorship lends the recommendations considerable prestige, governments are under no obligation to follow them.
Committee co-chair William Foege, MD,