Penn Medicine and other hospitals across the country have started receiving a small supply of the vaccine. We have started vaccinating our frontline health care workers who are most at risk, as well as patients who meet the criteria for Phase 1b. Phase 1b includes patients who have one of the following highest risk conditions: 75 years of age or older, cancer, chronic kidney disease, organ transplant, or diabetes mellitus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Academy of Medicine have developed a plan to give the vaccine based on the risk of getting the virus. At first, the vaccine will be given to health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. Next, it will be given to essential workers and then to the general population. The general population will receive the vaccine based on age and medical conditions. People who have a higher chance of getting very sick or dying will receive the vaccine first.
The COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandatory at this time. Once we know more about the vaccine, it’s possible that it will become mandatory. We need to know much more about how long the vaccine protects people and what may happen over time.
Two national pharmacy chains have signed contracts with the federal government to give the vaccine. They have not yet received the supply of the vaccines. Most likely, the first supply to pharmacies will be given to nursing homes and essential workers. The rest of the public will receive it at a later date.