If you’re spending dreary winter nights scrolling social media, and you have healthcare workers in your circle, you’ve probably noticed that people have started getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
As of January 14, 30.6 million doses of the vaccine have been shipped to hospitals and specialty clinics across the country.
And while the pace is certainly picking up, only 11 million doses—a little over a third of the total doses that have been distributed thus far—have been administered since December 13.
At this rate, it will take more than three years for the United States to be fully vaccinated. The situation will gain momentum, however.
Who Is Getting the First Doses?
Initially, the federal government and most U.S. states announced that the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would go to healthcare workers, along with nursing home residents and staff.
In early January, however, a number of states switched gears and are now offering these first doses of the vaccine to older people, teachers, and first responders instead.
Additional adjustments will likely be made for these groups, which represent roughly 50 million Americans, in the weeks that follow.
Who Will Be Vaccinated After Healthcare Workers?
The federal government is working hard to speed up distribution.
In an effort to protect the most vulnerable, officials granted states permission to vaccine people over the age of 65, or anyone over the age of 16 with an underlying health condition that would likely result in a more severe case if they contract the virus.
Despite this recent update, states make the final decision on who gets vaccinated first. The federal government did say, however, that essential workers should be next on the list—though they didn’t go into much detail in the way of who counts as an essential worker.
When Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Be Widely Available?
Public health officials anticipate an additional 75 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be delivered by the end of March, with yet another 75 million doses coming shortly thereafter.
The Moderna vaccine, meanwhile, will be distributed on a rolling basis, with 180 million doses to be distributed through the end of June. This means starting in January, roughly 30 million doses will be delivered each month through the beginning of summer.
What does this mean for you? The vaccine is coming. It’s important to note, however, that 400 million doses of the two-dose vaccine will only cover 200 million people—meaning the vaccines won’t be available to everyone in the United States until the Oxofrd-AstraZeneca vaccine is approved in the U.S. as well.
The federal government has yet to release a timetable for when these doses will be available, but they’re very likely coming in the near future.
So sit tight for now, continue to follow the CDC’s health and safety recommendations, and keep watch on when these additional 500,000 doses of the vaccine will be distributed here in the U.S.
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