Dec. 28, 2020 – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has outlined three tiers of population groups that should be within Phase 1 of the COVID-19 rollout, and lawyers and judges should be in the third tier, according to recent guidance from the CDC.
In early December, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccines first, in Phase 1a of the vaccination program.
Phase 1b, the second recommended group for prioritization, includes those aged 75 years and older and “front-line essential workers (non-health care workers).”
Front-line essential workers include police officers, firefighters, postal service workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, teachers, support staff, and child care workers. Approximately 49 million people are included within Phases 1a and 1b.
Phase 1c includes persons aged 65-74 years and aged 16-64 “with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b.” Approximately 129 million people are included in Phase 1c, accounting for overlap.
Last week, on Dec. 22, the CDC issued an “Updated Interim Recommendation for Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine,” noting that “legal” workers should be among the “essential workers” included for vaccination in Phase 1c.
The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in August, created a list of “essential critical infrastructure workers.”
Among them were “workers supporting the operations of the judicial system, including judges, lawyers, and others providing legal assistance.”
The ACIP’s recent guidance, putting legal workers within 1c, recognizes legal workers as what CISA considers “essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.”
The recommendations for phased vaccination allocation “provide guidance for federal, state, and local jurisdictions while vaccine supply is limited.”
The CDC recommends Phase 1 individuals receive vaccinations before Phase 2, which includes “all persons aged 16 and older not previously recommended for vaccination.”
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has noted that it is following ACIP’s vaccine prioritization guidelines, as well as guidelines from the Wisconsin State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee, and Wisconsin is currently in Phase 1a.
It’s still not clear how COVID-19 vaccine providers will determine if someone meets the criteria for prioritized vaccination based on being an “essential worker,” and prioritized allocation will also depend on supply. But that may be a premature conversation.
In a recent article from Science Magazine, a chief medical officer in California noted that providers are focused on short-term allocation and federal guidelines will drive future roll-out at the state and county level, with providers taking cues from the guidance.