Hospitals Scramble to Prioritize COVID Vaccine for Their Workers

Hospitals have been grappling with how to distribute the first scarce shots, but plans vary broadly

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan on December 13, 2020.
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As the Food and Drug Administration engages in intense deliberations about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was authorized Friday, and days before the initial 6.4 million doses could be released, hospitals across the country have been grappling with how to distribute the first scarce shot, NBC News reports.

An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that top priority goes to long-term care facilities and front-line health care workers, but the early allocation was always expected to fall far short of the need and to require selective screening even among critical hospital workers.

Hospitals in general are advised to target the members of their workforces at highest risk, but the institutions are left on their own to decide exactly who that will be, Colin Milligan, a spokesperson for the American Hospital Association, said by email.

"It is clear that the hospitals will not receive enough in the first weeks to vaccinate everyone on their staff, so decisions had to be made," Milligan wrote.

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