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CDC committee delays vote on who should get coronavirus vaccines first in nationwide rollout

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) committee is delaying a vote on who should get the coronavirus vaccine first in a nationwide rollout.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which develops guidelines for vaccine administration as well as schedules, was expected to vote virtually on Tuesday. 

A plan would be drafted on which groups would be allocated the initial doses of the initial shot – or shots – that are proven safe and effective. 

However, members say they want to wait and learn more about which inoculations have the best chance of being approved, The Wall Street Journal reported.  

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was expected to vote on who gets initial coronavirus vaccine doses on Tuesday. Pictured: Volunteers are given the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Detroit, Michigan, October 5

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was expected to vote on who gets initial coronavirus vaccine doses on Tuesday. Pictured: Volunteers are given the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Detroit, Michigan, October 5

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was expected to vote on who gets initial coronavirus vaccine doses on Tuesday. Pictured: Volunteers are given the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Detroit, Michigan, October 5

There are more than 170 coronavirus vaccine candidates in various stages of development around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

At least nine are currently in large-scale trials in humans to prove the jabs are both safe and effective. 

Two-US based companies, Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc, are in late-stage trials and say they expect to know if their vaccines work by October or November.

UK-based AstraZeneca, partnered with the University of Oxford, has resumed its trials in Britain but not in the US after two volunteers developed rare complications.  

The Journal reported that the ACIP may not draft recommendations until the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes a specific vaccine.

Members were allegedly uncomfortable with making guidelines for a vaccine that hasn’t been approved by regulators yet. 

The CDC websites states that the committee’s next meeting is scheduled to take place from October 28 to October 29. 

The ACIP’s proposed groups for early vaccination include healthcare personnel, essential workers, those with high risk medical conditions and adults aged 65 and older, according to a presentation from a meeting last month. 

While most experts agree frontline healthcare workers should get initial doses, it’s unclear which group should be next.

Additionally, members are waiting to see if emerging data from clinical trials reveal how effective the vaccine is in the elderly population.

Older adults are among the groups at highest-risk of developing severe cases of COVID-19, which could result in hospitalization and death.

Because the immune system weakens with age, it is often hard for vaccines to induce a sufficient immune response, which has made some experts worry that any experimental vaccine for the coronavirus might not be as effective in the elderly. 

The Journal also notes that storage can vary from one jab to another and may affect how easily they can be distributed in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Dr William Schaffner told the newspaper that individual states are looking to the ACIP to develop a prioritization plan to come up with their own guidelines, and a delay only makes this process more complicated.

‘The states are eager for that and I would hope the ACIP would move expeditiously,’ said Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

Source: Daily Mail

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