By: Katelyn Wescott
With the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine expected to be given out by the end of the year, many are wondering who will be receiving the vaccine first. The CDC is currently working with state, local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions to plan for the distribution of the vaccine. The CDC is also working with private partners, such as pharmacies and federal agencies, to distribute the vaccine. They are working with certain pharmacies to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccinations for those who live in nursing facilities, most of whom are high risk patients above the age of 65. There will be a limited supply when the FDA first approves the vaccine. This means only select groups of people will be recipients. As to who will first receive the vaccine, the verdict will be determined by the state government. This has led to widespread debate in regards to whether or not this decision should be on the nationwide priority list, and handled by the federal government.
Public health officials in New Jersey have spent the last few days finalizing their own plans for who will be getting the vaccine first. In order for someone to be properly vaccinated, they need to be given two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. New Jersey health officials will only be receiving 76,000 doses, meaning roughly 38,000 people will be completely protected. That being said, Governor Phil Murphy has stated that the state is expecting to receive 300,000-500,000 more doses by the end of the year. The New Jersey state Department of Health has chosen first responses, health care workers, and those living in nursing homes to be part of the first 38,000 recipients of the vaccine.
New Jersey plans to meet final demands of those at high risk during the second phase of the vaccine distribution. Once in the third phase, health officials intend on giving the public access to the vaccine. Their goal is to vaccinate about seventy percent of the population in six months.
New Jersey’s Department of Health is reminding people that information about the vaccine and its distribution are still evolving, and new information is being learned everyday.