Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one question on everyone’s mind has been “Will there be a vaccine?” Researchers and scientists almost immediately began their journey to find an effective vaccine, working at speeds not seen before to help bring the life-altering health crisis to an end. Promising results soon arose in early clinical trials, and recently, Pfizer and Moderna both announced that they had safe vaccine candidates with efficacies well over ninety percent. The news provided a light at the end of the tunnel for a world in the stronghold of the virus. Across the world, countries are beginning to provide emergency authorization for use of these vaccines, and many people are now asking when it will be time for them to receive it. The simple answer is sooner than originally thought, but a lot more factors are in play.
The United States does not currently have a centralized vaccine rollout plan. Rather, states have created their own plans for how their rollouts will go, but in the end, every state’s plan will likely follow a similar pattern, especially since initial quantities of the vaccine are likely to be limited and therefore must be rationed to those who need it most. Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Health has released its three-phase plan of rolling out the vaccine across the state. For more information on Massachusetts’ vaccine program, click here.
Massachusetts’ first phase began in December 2020, and is expected to run through approximately February 2021. In this first phase, populations deemed the most vulnerable will be given priority. This includes:
- Healthcare workers who both work directly with COVID-19 patients or simply work in healthcare settings, and home healthcare workers
- Emergency personnel, including police, fire, and emergency medical technicians
- Residents and staff of long-term care, assisted living, and rest home facilities
- People living and working in congregate settings, including correctional facilities and shelters
Once everyone falling under the first phase has been vaccinated, the state will enter Phase Two of vaccine distribution. Expected to begin in February 2021 and running through March 2021, this phase will vaccinate:
- Individuals with one or more comorbidities, meaning that they are at a higher risk of severe complications if contracting COVID-19
- Frontline workers including those in education, food and agriculture, grocery, public health, public works, sanitation, transit, and utility
- Adults aged 65 and over
After these vaccinations take place, the state will then enter Phase Three. Expected to begin in approximately April 2021, this phase will allow vaccinations for the general public and anyone who did not fall in one of the above categories.
Though it may not be as close as one may hope, the time to receive a COVID-19 vaccination is closer than ever. If you are interested in seeing where you potentially fall in line for receiving the vaccine in your state, check out the New York Times’ “Find Your Place in the Vaccine Line”, which gives a generalized estimate of your place in your state’s rollout plan.
Just because the vaccine is here and being distributed does not mean that COVID-19 is a thing of the past just yet. Until the vaccine has widespread availability and a certain level of herd immunity is achieved, we must still follow the general CDC guidelines that we have been following. This includes wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, practicing social distancing, and, of course, staying home if you are sick. We may not be in the clear yet, but these exciting new developments should give us all hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon be a memory, and normalcy will return one day, hopefully sooner rather than later!
If you have concerns about your workforce and coronavirus, please contact us today to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your employees. We offer the following COVID-19 safety service options:
COVID-19 Consulting Bundle: Written directive/policy on requirements which can be either a corporate policy or a site-specific policy.
COVID-19 Training (Infection Control Webinar): We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.
COVID-19 Testing: We now offer COVID-19 Testing Services for Colleges, Universities, Private Companies, And Public Agencies