The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will vote to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines Tuesday afternoon as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prepares to review two vaccine candidates this month. for emergencies, use a permit.
The meeting on Tuesday will set out the priorities for administering vaccines, which are largely expected to put health workers and staff and nursing homes at the top of the list. But some experts also say that vaccinating minority communities that have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus should also be a priority.
How the local distribution will work and whether there will be enough doses to vaccinate health workers and the elderly remains to be seen.
Dr. Joshua Lesko, an emergency physician at Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, wrote Monday, “The expected (40 million) doses … are not enough to adequately cover even these two groups.”
Doses are expected to come from Moderna (MRNA) and the duo Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX), which have applied for emergency use.
But Tuesday’s CDC vote focused on the first group, called Phase 1a, which could only include health workers, according to a comment from previous meetings.
The need for a vaccine for health workers has escalated in recent weeks as the country expects even more pressure on hospitals and health facilities after Thanksgiving. Hospitalizations have already increased overall, although daily numbers are declining slightly due to stricter admission thresholds. As of Tuesday, nearly 100,000 people had been hospitalized.
Experts are also focused on the upcoming change of administration, as President-elect Joe Biden will be in office when most of the vaccines are distributed.
“It would be logical for the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Board to be involved in these decisions, but I doubt that the level of cooperation is offered by the outgoing administration – which is unfortunate,” said Dr Jeremy Faust, an emergency doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. in Boston.
Meanwhile, as President Donald Trump faces the end of his administration, what will happen to Operation Warp Speed and its top officials remains a question. But White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas resigned on Monday.
The resignation of the controversial adviser, who some consider unskilled, is likely to bring relief to members of the White House’s COVID-19 working group. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said many times that he disagrees with Atlas and his views.
Most notably, Atlas introduced the idea of herd immunity, which allows Americans to get sick and avoid mitigation tactics to promote greater natural immunity to the virus.
Dr Ashish Ja, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said on Twitter, “Few people are so responsible for how bad things are going like Scott. His tenure in the federal payroll is (really) really awful. “
Ja added that Atlas was spreading false information and making several false claims about the virus because it “found a buyer” in Trump. However, Atlas said it relies on data and has the support of experts from the best institutions.
“I have always relied on the latest science and evidence … These views were in agreement with those of many of the world’s best epidemiologists and medical scientists,” Atlas said. “I can’t think of a time when conserving science and scientific debate is more urgent.”
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