As new strains of the virus have made COVID-19 more infectious and severe, the concerned authorities have increased their vaccine procurement speed. The vaccine produced by Pfizer and Moderna is said to have an effectiveness rate of 95%, making it the only available vaccine to deal with the novel coronavirus. The United States officials have agreed to go ahead with the emergency usage of these vaccines that will be made available to various locations with the help of two logistics giant, FedEx and United Parcel Services (UPS). These COVID-19 vaccines need to be transported under special arrangements, making it one of the toughest distribution processes in recent history.
While the availability of vaccines doesn’t guarantee an immediate cure to the coronavirus, they will help flatten the COVID-19 curve. Currently, the United States is preparing to receive millions of doses of the vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and trying hard to make it accessible for every American by spring 2021. The vaccine will be rolled out in phases, and the distribution will be based on multiple factors. If you’re living in the United States and wondering when exactly you will receive the vaccine, you should definitely check out the phase-wise vaccination distribution plan for better clarity.
Different Phases of Vaccine Distribution
The US is one of the many countries worldwide that was hard-hit by the pandemic. While thousands of Americans have lost their life to COVID-19, many are still battling this infectious virus. To overcome the panicking situation and rising number of COVID-19 patients, the higher authorities have decided to roll out the vaccine distribution in a planned way. The aim is to make the vaccine available to every American citizen by spring 2021. The coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer is expected to roll out in 4 phases.
It is expected that the first or initial phase of vaccine distribution will cover the most vulnerable Americans. The first responders and front-line health workers will be vaccinated under the first phase plan. Also, people with underlying conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness and senior citizens aged 65 or above living in crowded places, like- homeless shelters, nursing homes, prisons, along with long-term health care facilities, will also be given the COVID-19 vaccine under the first phase. On average, Phase 1 will cover approximately 15% of the US population.
The second phase of vaccine distribution will cover child care workers, public transit workers, K-12 teachers, school staff, and those working in the food supply system. This phase will additionally cover all those people with underlying health conditions that put them at a moderately higher risk of any severe illness. People living in group homes or homeless shelters, prisons, jail inmates, and jail staffers are also covered in this vaccine distribution phase. On average, the second phase of vaccine distribution covers around 30 to 35 percent of the total US population.
The third phase of vaccine distribution covers young adults and workers working in industries, like-gyms, higher education, hotels, banks, and factories. Children are also to be covered in this phase; however, the guidance says that any immunization of American children will depend on safety testing. Taking the covered people into consideration, the third phase is expected to cover approximately 40 to 45 percent of the total American population.
Any person not covered in any of the earlier phases will be vaccinated in the fourth or last phase of vaccine distribution. For healthy Americans (mostly covered in the last phase), the medial experts predict that the first dose will be made available in early April or July.
The plan of vaccine distribution through four phases was designed after intense research and discussion with the concerned authorities. It is expected that this phase-wise vaccine distribution plan will be successful in the United States as it prioritizes, giving the vaccine first to those Americans who are more vulnerable.
Is Vaccine Enough to Stop COVID-19?
Two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine three weeks apart are needed for full immunization. Doctors say that immunization may not necessarily prevent you from getting infected with coronavirus, but it will keep you away from getting severely ill. If you’re someone who falls in the later phases of vaccine distribution, it will be best to keep following the standard safety guidelines. While doing so will not entirely remove the chances of you getting infected with coronavirus, it will certainly keep the possible risk significantly lesser.
While the concerned authorities are trying their best to make the vaccine available as early as possible, it may still take 4-6 months to make the vaccine available to every citizen. A word of caution for every American citizen: even if you receive your initial doses, you should still wear a mask, follow social distancing, and maintain a hygienic and healthy lifestyle for best results.