Who can get the Covid vaccine first?

The first people vaccinated will be the over-80s, workers in care homes and NHS staff, including the vaccinators themselves.

The FDA granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine Friday, and the CDC's ACIP voted Saturday to recommend it for people age 16 and older. The CDC vaccine advisory committee recommended that health care workers and long-term care facility residents be first in line to receive the shot.

To help guide these decisions, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) released an interim recommendation on December 1 for the highest priority group (“Phase 1a”) to include health care workers (HCWs) and long-term care (LTC) residents; we estimate that this populations together represents about 17.6 million people. ACIP also provided further guidance regarding sub-prioritization within these groups. While ACIP has yet to finalize recommendations on subsequent prioritization (expected soon), according to presentations and materials provided in recent ACIP meetings, the committee is likely to recommend that (non-health care) essential workers be the next priority group (“Phase 1b”), followed by persons age 65 and older and those with conditions that place them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (“Phase 1c”). These groups are much larger, which will likely make the next stages of prioritization much more difficult given that supply will still be limited (according to ACIP, there are an estimated 87 million essential workers, 53+ million seniors and more than 100 million individuals with high-risk medical conditions).

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States look to and often follow ACIP guidance, but the federal recommendations are not binding and some states may choose to depart from the prioritization sequence outlined by ACIP, which could mean that initial access will depend on where people live. To see where states stand on prioritization, we collected and reviewed all statements and releases from state officials that reference the criteria they will use to prioritize vaccines during Phase 1 (these prioritization criteria build on and add detail to states’ initial vaccine distribution plans, which we already examined here). We did not assess how individual facilities (such as hospitals) will allocate vaccines once they arrive at their doors.

Out of the nine priority groups, those aged 50-54 are at the bottom of the current list.

There will be a second phase, which will offer the vaccine to the other groups in the population.

The vaccine will be delivered in hospitals initially, and then through GPs and care homes, as well as "go-to" vaccination centres set up in venues such as sports halls.