CDC expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine priorities, though no clear answers yet

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- A CDC committee will meet Tuesday to vote on who should get a coronavirus vaccine first after it's approval by the FDA.

The federal government has said 40 million vaccine doses could be available by the end of December.

However, many more Americans -- about 200 million of them -- are are among the populations of health care workers, first-responders and adults with high-risk conditions who are generally acknowledged to be first in line.

"At this point, it appears, we'll probably see health care workers and the elderly, specifically people in nursing homes, assisted living centers, getting this vaccine first," CBS News Correspondent Jim Krasula told KYW Newsradio Tuesday morning. "But we should have a better idea about the timeline for all of this after the CDC meeting."

Krasula says it is expected that the CDC's recommendations will be followed to the letter, but he hastened to add that "it will be up to the governors to decide who gets the vaccine first and how and where it's distributed in each state."

CBS White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy spoke to KYW Newsradio Tuesday morning about a meeting the day before that Vice President Mike Pence had with nation's governors.

"One thing we learned ... is that the vaccine distribution process could begin two weeks from now. The week of Dec. 14 is what Vice President Pence said yesterday."

Drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer are seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA. The Trump administration has set a goal of having 300 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines ready sometime next year.

But at the early stage, far fewer will be available, Portnoy said.

"There are said to be 20 million doses of each of these vaccines that could be ready by the end of 2020. But because there are two doses necessary and there are questions about distribution and handling of these vaccines, there really are no answers yet. But the point is that it's apparently just around the corner."

Philadelphia is one of five cities in the CDC's plan for vaccine distribution, and it was the only one in a pilot program to help other cities come up with their plans.