Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Only 4 states are still following the CDC committee's vaccine rollout recommendations
Alabama is just one of four states still following all of the guidance from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The other states are Hawaii, Minnesota, and Vermont. The biggest recent change is that 35 states are now providing vaccines to those age 65 and older in Phase 1b of their plans. Another 9 states are providing vaccines to those age 70 and older in the same phase.
Photo Credit: Gerd Altmann, Pixabay
The current CDC ACIP committee's guidance includes vaccinating many young "essential workers" before those over the age of 50, who have a much higher risk of death.
Age Groups and Risk of Death
While there has been a lot of discussion in the media recently about the age group "65 and older", those ages 50 to 64 are rarely discussed as a separate high risk group. According to the CDC, this group is 30 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than those ages 18 to 29.
Heritage.org data shows that "93 percent of COVID-19 deaths nationwide have occurred among those ages 55 and older". According to Alabama's COVID-19 Dashboard Hub, the age group 50 to 64 currently accounts for 16.4% of COVIC-19 deaths in the state, while those ages 25 to 49 account for 4.3%.
Some states have a more focused prioritization based on age. These states include Washington, Indiana, and Delaware. Georgia is vaccinating caregivers in their Phase 1a. According to a 2015 report by AARP, those ages 50 to 64 account for about 34% of all caregivers, with 64% of their care recipients being ages 75 and above.
During the last week of the Trump administration both the HHS Secretary and CDC Director encouraged states to include those age 65 and older in earlier phases. However, this did not come directly from the CDC's ACIP committee. During the first week of the Biden administration, a Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness document was made available which also encourages states to prioritize vaccines for those age 65 and older. The ACIP committee has their next scheduled meeting on January 27th.
Updated (January 30, 2021): On Friday, January 29th, Alabama changed the vaccine plan to include those age 65 & older as well as several categories of "essential workers". AFP will update this information soon.
Updated (February 3, 2021): On Friday, January 29th, Alabama changed the state vaccine plan to make those age 65 and older eligible on February 8th, although the plan still has them listed as being in Phase 1c. Several categories of "frontline critical workers" (previously termed "essential workers") were added to the list of those who will be qualified to get a vaccine starting on February 8th. These workers qualify regardless of age. They will also qualify for the vaccine while those age 75 and older are still seeking vaccinations.
Notably added to the list of those who qualify are those who are part of the state of Alabama continuity of government strategy which includes state legislators, constitutional officers, and cabinet agency heads, regardless of age. AFP was told that state legislators had a conference call with Governor Ivey on Friday, the day of the changes. State Legislators were not specifically mentioned in the ADPH press release.
The other added "frontline critical workers" include:
Corrections officers and support staff
Food and agricultural workers
U.S. Postal workers
Grocery store workers
Public Transit workers
Educators including Child care workers
K-12, community colleges, and all higher education institutions
Clergy / ministers
The latest version of the state vaccine plan can be reviewed here.
Updated to add January 2021 to title.