When there is an effective coronavirus vaccine, experts say there likely won’t be enough for all Americans right off the bat.
To help figure out who should receive the first batch of doses, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has released a framework for vaccine distribution, The Baltimore Sun reports.
According to the report, which is dubbed an “ethics framework,” the first people that should be vaccinated are health care workers that are essential to combating coronavirus.
Johns Hopkins experts say people at greatest risk of severe illness such as seniors and their caregivers as well as teachers and food and transit workers should receive initial vaccines.
Researchers noted that determining who gets early supplies is a “difficult and potentially contentious” topic.
The report is not a direct recommendation, according to the newspaper. It addresses just priority groups and not the overall population.
The report brings attention to essential workers and groups that may have been overlooked in previous pandemic planning efforts. It also works to take racial and ethnic disparities under consideration, The Baltimore Sun reports.
Contributors to the report said they considered medical risk, public health, ethics and equity, economic impact and logistics in determining the framework. They also said they looked at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s pandemic flu vaccine guidance.
According to the report, there probably won’t even be enough vaccines for the people they labeled in the first tier.
They noted that people in that group will have to be prioritized. They suggested that could be done by taking under consideration the people’s ability to protect themselves, their ages and the importance of their jobs.
Researchers place general health, pharmacy workers and those who lack access to care in the second tier for vaccination. The second tier also includes people who work in public water and sanitation systems and other essential services such as police and military. That group also includes those who must go to work and can’t distance themselves and those who live in shelters or prisons.
The report notes that as more information is learned the framework may change.