A Look at Vaccine Plans Across the U.S.
Photo Credit: Triggermouse, Pixabay
In December, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris stated that Alabama was following the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice's (ACIP) phased vaccine rollout recommendations and shared he thought that all states would do the same. He was wrong.
Since late December, twenty-three states have decided to go their own way and design their own state level vaccine plans. Thirteen of these states have changed their Phase 1b plans to include the elderly age 65 and older, while one has moved this age group into their Phase 1a+. Another seven states are focusing on age 70 and older, with one on age 80 and older. Twenty-six states are continuing to follow the CDC guidelines that have focused more on "essential workers" than the elderly. Rhode Island's path is unclear.
All of the states that surround Alabama (Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee) have changed their vaccine plans to include those age 65 and older earlier in the process. Georgia is also providing caregivers for the elderly the opportunity to be vaccinated in their Phase 1a+. (In contrast, Alabama is following the ACIP guidelines and vaccinating those age 75 and older in the same phase and is not providing access to the vaccine to caregivers).
Some Select States Around the Country
The state of Washington's Phase 1b includes those ages 70 and older and "all people 50 years or older in multi-generational households". There are no "essential workers" in their Phase 1b. In their Phase 2b, Washington focuses on "high-risk critical workers 50 years or older who work in certain congregate settings: grocery workers; K-12 teachers and school staffs; childcare; corrections; prisons jails and detention centers; public transit fire and law enforcement". (Alabama has not indicated that they plan to vaccinate only those age 50 and older in these stated groups. According to the the CDC, the ages of 50 to 64 are 30 times more likely to die from the Covid-19 virus than someone ages 18 to 29).
Indiana is rolling out their Phase 1b with a focus on those age 60 and older. They are starting with those age 80 and older, followed by age 70 and above, then age 60 and above. This follows a Phase 1 that focused on frontline healthcare workers, first responders and long-term healthcare residents.
Delaware has four vaccine phases. In their Phase 2, Delaware lists those between the ages of 50 and 64, targeting them for April and May.
Many states have created their own state committees to make recommendations for the rollout of vaccinations in their states. Several of them release their committee meeting notes to the general public for review. In some cases they ask for feedback from the public. (The Alabama Free Press (AFP) has not found any information regarding an Alabama committee specific to the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination. In March, 2020, Governor Ivey created the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Task Force. AFP has not seen any information released from this task force regarding the rollout of the vaccine. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has release vaccine information via their web site and though the media).
The Alabama Free Press will continue to monitor state vaccine plans for changes.
UPDATE (January 15, 2021): Multiple media outlets have reported this past week that the federal government is now recommending that states vaccinate those age 65 and above. However, this reported information is incomplete and misleading. Both the CDC Director and the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary did make such statements, however the guidance for vaccine rollouts that most states have been following comes from the CDC's ACIP committee, who does not meet again until January 27th. They did not issue this recommendation. The HHS Secretary resigned on Friday. The state of Alabama has not responded to these published reports.
Updated (February 3, 2021): Correction: On page 7 of the Interim Alabama Vaccine Plan released in November, two committees were listed by title in the plan. However, AFP could not find any information about publicly available information from any state vaccine committee meetings.
Updated: (January 25, 2021) Photo credit link change