The public will get an early look at recommendations for who should be first in line for a Covid-19 vaccine by late August or early September, the president of the National Academy of Medicine said Friday.
The new National Academies committee tasked with developing a framework for ensuring the fair distribution of virus vaccine doses held its first meeting late Friday afternoon. The directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had asked the scientific academies for a framework to inform the CDC’s immunization advisory panel.
The White House has thrown its weight behind several vaccine candidates from companies such as Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca to make hundreds of millions of doses available by the end of the year. But it’s unlikely that the vaccine will be available for everyone right away.
Before the CDC’s longstanding Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes its own recommendations, NIH Director Francis S. Collins said it would be helpful to have a high-level discussion among bioethicists and other experts in public health and vaccine scientists to try and “paint a broad picture of what the foundational principles ought to be for this kind of priority setting.”
“This is going to be controversial,” Collins said. “Not everybody’s going to like the answer. There will be many people who feel they should be at the top of the list—and not everybody can be.”
CDC Director Robert Redfield said one of the goals in establishing the National Academies committee was to have transparency “so the American public has confidence in the recommendations we have.”
The committee will likely deliberate on who’s at highest risk of contracting the virus, health disparities, and geographic distribution. Collins also said anyone who participated in vaccine clinical trials but got a placebo probably should have “some special priority in terms of access to the vaccine once it’s proven to be successful.”
“We will do our best to deliver a high-quality production time,” committee co-chairwoman Helene D. Gayle, who is president and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, said.
The final recommendations will come out in late September or early October.