September 2, 2020

National Academies release COVID-19 vaccine distribution proposal

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, on September 1, released draft guidelines to help policymakers plan for equitable allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine. The committee that drafted the guidelines was formed at the request of the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The committee recommends a four-phased approach for the initial period when vaccine demand will exceed the supply.


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  • The first phase includes frontline healthcare workers and first responders, along with those with underlying health conditions and older adults in nursing homes, assisted living, multi-generational homes, and other dense residential settings.
  • The second phase includes essential workers at substantially high risk of exposure, such as teachers and school staff; people in jails, prisons, and homeless shelters; people with moderate-risk conditions; and older adults not included in the first phase.
  • The third phase includes young adults and children, as well as workers at increased risk of exposure not included in the previous phases, such as service industry workers and those who work in banks, libraries, hair and nail salons, and exercise facilities.
  • The fourth phase includes everyone who did not receive the vaccine in the previous phases.

The committee also recommends that Medicare and Medicaid require free vaccine administration; providers should not charge private plans or consumers; and private insurers and employers should not charge co-pays or deductibles for vaccine administration.

Comments on the draft guidelines will be accepted until 11:59 pm EDT September 4.

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