After nearly twelve long months in the worst pandemic in modern history, the first vaccines have been administered in the United States.
The development of the coronavirus vaccine is the fastest on record; this was only accomplished through multinational cooperation, scientific innovation, and the brave subjects who were willing to go through a human trial of the yet-to-be-proven vaccine. Last week, the FDA approved the compounds from Pfizer and BioNTech, setting the stage for one of the greatest logistical challenges of our era- distributing vaccines.
So, who will get the vaccines first? In the United States, the first doses will go to frontline healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus in hospitals, health care centers, and testing facilities. This prioritization ensures that those who are most likely to be affected by the virus can be protected against it and continue their important work. In total, this group numbers just over twenty million people.
Who’s next? After frontline healthcare workers, the vaccines will go to long-term care centers, who’s three million residents are considered high risk because of their proximity to each other as well as varying comorbid health conditions.
Once long-term care centers receive the vaccines, the next step will be to inoculate essential workers who keep our society running. Think teachers, transit workers, supermarket employees, food and agriculture workers, emergency services, and critical manufacturing workers.
By the middle of 2021, the goal is for a sizable chunk of the United States population to receive the vaccine. Other countries are also following the same model of priority; essential workers first, the rest later on. With any hope, the vaccine will be accepted by the population at large, and with some luck, we’ll soon be on the road back to normalcy.