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COVID-19: Next Groups for Vaccine Distribution, Building Vaccine Trust

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated its interim vaccine allocation recommendations in the Jan. 1 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The agency previously recommended health care workers and long-term care facility residents receive the vaccine first in Phase 1a. CDC now recommends that phase 1b include people ages 75 and older, as well as non–health care front-line essential workers.

Included in ACIP’s definition of front-line essential workers are:

  • first responders, including firefighters and police officers;
  • corrections officers;
  • food and agricultural workers;
  • U.S. Postal Service workers;
  • manufacturing workers;
  • grocery store workers;
  • public transit workers; and
  • education workers, including teachers, support staff, and child care workers.

Phase 1c includes people ages 65–74 years, as well as people ages 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, including:

  • cancer;
  • chronic kidney disease;
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
  • heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies;
  • immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from a solid organ transplant;
  • obesity or severe obesity, defined by body mass index;
  • sickle cell disease;
  • smoking;
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus; and
  • pregnancy.

Phase 1c also includes essential workers not included in Phase 1b, including workers in:

  • transportation and logistics;
  • water and wastewater;
  • food service;
  • shelter and housing, including construction;
  • finance, including bank tellers;
  • information technology and communications,;
  • energy;
  • legal;
  • media;
  • public safety, including engineers; and
  • public health workers.

Phase 2 will include all other people aged 16 or older who are not already recommended for vaccination in Phases 1a, 1b, or 1c.

Recommendations for Building Vaccine Trust, Access in Communities of Color and Tribal Nations

A new policy brief from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), the National Medical Association (NMA), and UnidosUS explores how structural racism, along with historical maltreatment of communities of color and tribal nations, breeds distrust of government and health care. The brief also includes strategies for policymakers to overcome barriers to vaccine receptivity.

The brief includes recommendations developed at an October 2020 policy convening of 40 minority health, health care, civil rights, and public health organizations. Staff from America’s Essential Hospitals participated as part of the association’s initiative to confront structural racism as a public health threat.

The brief urges policymakers to:

  • ensure the scientific fidelity of the vaccine development process;
  • provide funding and support to trusted community organizations and networks within communities of color and tribal communities for vaccination planning, education, delivery, and administration;
  • use trusted messengers and pathways to educate communities about the vaccine and help them make informed decisions;.
  • make it easy to vaccinate people in safe, trusted, and accessible community settings;
  • ensure and communicate about complete coverage of vaccine-related costs; and
  • fund and require disaggregated data collection and reporting by age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, primary language, disability status, and other demographic factors on vaccine trust and acceptance, access, vaccination rates, adverse experiences, and ongoing health outcomes.

FDA Warns of False Result Risk with Curative SARS-CoV-2 Test

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Jan. 4 alerted patients and health care providers to a risk of false negative results with the Curative SARS-CoV-2 assay.

A real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, the Curative assay received an Emergency Use Authorization for prescription use. The test is performed by collecting a throat swab, nasopharyngeal swab, nasal swab, or oral fluid specimen from a patient suspected of having COVID-19. Collection of nasal swabs and oral fluid specimens is limited to symptomatic individuals within 14 days of symptom onset.

FDA urges health care providers to consider retesting patients with a different test if they suspect an inaccurate result within 14 days. Patients and caregivers should talk to their health care providers if they suspect an inaccurate test result.

The FDA encourages stakeholders to report adverse events or suspected adverse events, including problems with test performance or results, through MedWatch, the agency’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting program.

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

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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