A federal advisory panel recommended Sunday that people 75 and older and essential workers like firefighters, teachers, and grocery store workers should be next in line for COVID-19 shots.

According to a story reported on by WWLP/22 News, this recommendation arrives just as a second vaccine began rolling out to hospitals as the nation works to get the coronavirus pandemic under control.

The two developments came amid a vaccination program that began only in the last week and has given initial shots to about 556,000 Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and Germany’s BioNTech already is being distributed, and regulators last week gave approval to the one from Moderna Inc. that began shipping Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said health care workers and nursing home residents — about 24 million people — should be at the very front of the line for the vaccines.

Sunday’s vote by the panel was who should be next in line, and by a vote of 13-1, it decided that it should be people 75 and older, who number about 20 million, as well as certain front-line workers, who total about 30 million.

The essential workers include firefighters and police; teachers and school staff; those working in food, agricultural, and manufacturing sectors; corrections workers; U.S. Postal Service employees; public transit workers; and grocery store workers. They are considered at very high risk of infection because their jobs are critical and require them to be in regular contact with other people.

It’s not clear how long it will take to vaccinate those groups. Vaccine doses have come out slower than earlier projections. But at the same time, some experts noted that not everyone who is recommended to get vaccinated may choose to get a shot.

The committee also voted that behind those groups should be people aged 65 to 74, numbering about 30 million; those aged 16 to 64 with medical conditions like obesity and cancer who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19, numbering as many as 110 million; and a tier of other essential workers. This group of as many as 57 million includes a wide category of food service and utility workers but also those in legal and financial jobs and the media.

For much more on the story, please visit WWLP/22 News' website here and we thank them for the info.

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