Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting to vote on who they recommend should be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine once one is authorized.
The meeting kicked off at 2 p.m. ET. Officials said they expect the meeting to last until 5 p.m. ET.
What officials have said so far: The CDC has already recommended that the first group — designated as 1a — should include frontline health providers and support personnel.
The 1a group likely should also include residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, who have been badly hit by the pandemic, the CDC has said.
"Long term care facility residents and staff accounted for 6% of cases and 39% of deaths in the US, despite the fact that long term care facility residents account for less than 1% of the US population," the CDC's Dr. Kathleen Dooling told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Monday.
There are not going to be enough vaccines for everyone at first, so choices have to be made.
The CDC estimates there are 21 million healthcare personnel, 87 million essential workers, 100 million adults with high-risk medical conditions and 53 million others 65 and older.
The federal government has said 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses could be available by the end of December.
Remember: No Covid-19 vaccine has been approved yet. The US Food and Drug Administration has a meeting scheduled for Dec. 10 to discuss Pfizer’s application for emergency use authorization for it's Covid-19 candidate. The agency has a second meeting on Dec. 17 to consider Moderna's application.
FDA officials say their decisions on the vaccines could come days to weeks after the meetings — it depends on what questions come up.