As we get closer to having a COVID-19 vaccine available for public use, it is important for everyone to keep in mind that those in our vulnerable stages should receive vaccines first.
No matter how things evolve, it is crucial for those who are a higher risk than others to be vaccinated first. We think it will be wise for everyone to receive the vaccine just like the flu shot, but older adults, especially those with weaker immune systems should receive priority.
The positive results for the vaccine's effectiveness made headlines this week. Moderna reported excellent news that their vaccine was 94.5 percent effective. Today, according to an AP News report, Pfizer's vaccine was 95 percent effective and safe. In addition to the news, Pfizer indicated that it would protect older people who are at risk of dying.
We have seen many reports across the United States indicating health care workers will receive the vaccines first and they should. We must take care of our health care heroes, especially those on the front line keeping America healthy and safe. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the elderly population who have been hit hard by the virus should receive strong protection from the shot. In the United States, 8 out of 10 deaths from COVID-19 have been senior citizens 65 and over. Thankfully, the expert panel advising the CDC gives high vaccine priority to adults 65 and over and to people with certain medical conditions.
According to a recent Axios Harris national survey, 73 percent of the respondents thought our health care workers should receive priority when the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available. Close behind were seniors 55 years of age and older, followed by those with compromised immune systems receiving 68 percent.
The full Axios Harris survey results of the vaccine were as follows:
- 73% Health care workers
- 71% Seniors 55 plus
- 68% People with compromised health systems
- 60% Essential workers
- 56% Fire and Rescue
- 44% Teachers
- 34% States with the worst infection rates
- 28% Children under 17
- 16% Young adults 18-39
We are an advocacy organization for our elderly population, so naturally, we are looking out for our older Americans first, however, we are for America and look forward to everyone receiving a vaccine.
When the CDC first approves the COVID vaccine, there may be a limited supply at the outset although supply will increase in the weeks and months to follow. The goal is for everyone to have access as soon as quantities are available. There will be thousands of vaccination providers administering the vaccine from doctor's offices, pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers, so this should make the process run smoothly.
In the meantime, we should continue our minimum 6 feet social distancing, washing our hands and wearing our masks whenever possible.