ACIP Interim Recommendation For COVID-19 Vaccination Priority Groups

ACIP provides interim recommendation for people who will be in Phases 1b and 1c of COVID-19 vaccination priority groups in the United States

During its meeting on December 20, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved a recommendation designating persons to include in Phases 1b and 1c of COVID-19 vaccination efforts during times of limited vaccine availability. This decision was an update to ACIP’s previous recommendation to include healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities in Phase 1a.

Specifically, the interim recommendation includes the following populations:

  • Phase 1b: persons age 75 years and older and frontline essential workers*
  • Phase 1c: persons age 65–74 years, persons age 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers*

* “Frontline essential workers” include workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus. Occupations in this group include first responders (e.g., firefighters, police), education staff (e.g., teachers, support staff, daycare), and persons working in food and agriculture, manufacturing, corrections, the U.S. Postal Service, and grocery stores.

In considering the age groups to include in each phase, ACIP noted that persons age 75 years and older comprise 8% of the U.S. population, but account for 25% of the country’s COVID-19 deaths.
In making these recommendations, ACIP members emphasized their efforts to balance the goals of preventing morbidity and mortality due to SARS-CoV-2 infection with the goal of preserving societal function. In addition, the group wished to provide a framework for decisions while allowing flexibility for state and local governments to prioritize their vaccine allocations based on priorities that might vary based on local circumstances. 
At the outset of the meeting, Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC, put the deliberations in context by noting that current projections suggest vaccine would be available to vaccinate 20 million people in December, another 30 million in January, and another 50 million in February. Although CDC and ACIP strongly support all persons in the U.S. being vaccinated, it is recognized that prioritization will be necessary until vaccine supplies are ample.
Read the The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Updated Interim Recommendation for Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine—United States, December 2020