Who Will Get the Coronavirus Vaccine First?

Doctor vaccinating a senior woman
Photo by JPC-PROD / Shutterstock.com

Many of us dream of a day when a vaccine will finally end the coronavirus pandemic. With any luck, that moment is on the horizon.

In fact, some experts believe a vaccine could arrive before the end of the year. Others say we may have to wait a bit longer, until early or mid-2021.

But if and when that magic day arrives, it will open a question: Who gets the vaccine first?

As with so many health care decisions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have a big voice in who moves to the front of the line. Since 1964, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has been charged with making such calls, USA Today reports.

Experts agree that there will be a relatively limited amount of the vaccine available. As Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, tells USA Today:

“It’s inevitable that the vaccine will come out more slowly than we like. We’re not going to have 350 million doses delivered Day One.”

In addition, the vaccine itself likely will have to be administered twice to anyone who is immunized, the Mayo Clinic reports.

Two shots are needed because people have no natural immunity to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The pair of doses would be administered three to four weeks apart, with immunity kicking in one to two weeks after the second vaccination.

With two doses needed per person — and a limited supply available overall — some people are more likely than others to be vaccinated right away. In a post on the medical news website STAT, Dr. Sandeep Jauhar, a cardiologist at Northwell Health in New York, speculates that two groups would be good candidates for immediate vaccination:

  • Health care workers, and those with jobs considered to be essential during the pandemic
  • Those people most at risk of dying from COVID-19. This might include the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. It also might include people in communities especially hard-hit by the virus.

However, Jauhar — author of the book “Heart: A History” — emphasizes that ultimately, the decision about who will receive the first vaccinations will depend on decisions made by “state and local health departments and community hospitals interpreting the federal guidelines.”

He adds that disagreements are inevitable and that officials will face tough decisions.

Dr. Arthur Reingold, division head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California at Berkeley, made a similar point to USA Today:

“If I’ve only got 30 million doses for the next year and I’ve got a population of 350 million, who do I assign propriety to?”

Until a vaccine arrives, it pays to be extra cautious in protecting yourself from the ravages of the coronavirus disease. For more tips on doing so, check out:

How to earn $30 in less than 30 seconds

Earn extra money by using Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) — a site that gets you cash back at more than 2,500 stores. As a bonus for joining Rakuten between now and Dec. 31, 2020, you'll earn $30 when you sign up using our link and spend at least $30 shopping online through Rakuten within the first 60 days. Start earning cash back and claim a free $30 bonus today.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Reasons You Should Not Pay Off a Mortgage Before Retirement
7 Reasons You Should Not Pay Off a Mortgage Before Retirement

Here’s why it often makes financial sense to carry a mortgage into retirement.

8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple
8 Key Steps to Planning for Retirement as a Couple

Ready for retirement? Not so fast. You might be surprised at some of the issues that come up for couples when they plan.

9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Generic products are a great way to save money, but sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already
11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already

Never keep these items past their prime.

10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them
10 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze — and How I Freeze Them

How many of the foods have you thought to put in the freezer?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.