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COVID-19: Equitable Vaccine Allocation, FDA Gown Warning

On Sept. 1, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a preliminary framework for equitable allocations of a COVID-19 vaccine, a discussion draft that represents the initial thoughts of the Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus on how to allocate a potential COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

As part of the framework, the committee developed and relied upon foundational principles, which include:

  • maximization of benefits;
  • equal regard;
  • mitigation of health inequities;
  • fairness;
  • evidence-based work; and
  • transparency.

Given the expected scarcity of a vaccine initially, the committee recommends a four-phased approach for allocation across the U.S. population. Within this phased approach, four criteria are highlighted: the risk of acquiring the virus; the risk of sever morbidity/mortality; the risk of negative societal impact; and the risk of transmitting the virus to others. These individuals have been initially included in each phase:

  • Phase 1a: high-risk workers in health care fields, first responders;
  • Phase 1b: people with significant comorbidities, older adults in congregate or overcrowded places;
  • Phase 2: critical risk workers, teachers and school staff, people with moderate comorbidities, all older adults, people in homeless shelters or camps, incarcerated or detained people and staff;
  • Phase 3: young adults, children, other critical risk workers; and
  • Phase 4: All other individuals.

CDC Orders Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced an order under the Public Health Service Act to temporarily halt residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order would remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2020. The CDC notes that halting evictions can help prevent the spread of communicable disease. Further, housing stability helps protect public health because homelessness increases the likelihood of individuals moving into congregate settings, such as homeless shelters, putting such individuals at higher risk of infection and transmission.

FDA Warns that Certain Hospital Gowns Should Not Be Used as PPE

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an alert to health care facilities that medical gowns including surgical gowns, sold by Laws of Motion PPE have potential quality issues that affect the level of fluid barrier protection. The FDA recommends that these gowns should not be used as personal protective equipment (PPE) as the administration continues to investigate the case. Further, the FDA suggests hospitals identify the supplier or manufacturer of the gowns in hospital inventory and report any quality or performance issues of gowns to the FDA.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the outbreak.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.

About the Author

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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