- The US is averaging one death from COVID-19 per minute, Dr. Beth Bell, a global health expert who serves on a CDC vaccine advisory panel, said Tuesday.
- Bell shared the figure at a meeting for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which operates under the CDC.
- The federal advisory panel met Tuesday afternoon to discuss and vote on recommendations for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.
- The committee voted that healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff should be first in line to receive the vaccine from the initial limited supply.
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The US is averaging one death from COVID-19 per minute, according to a global health expert who serves on an advisory panel under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The grim death rate was shared at a Tuesday meeting for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which operates under the CDC. The federal advisory panel met Tuesday afternoon to discuss and vote on recommendations for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine.
Dr. Beth Bell, a global health expert at the University of Washington who serves as the work group co-chair for the panel, put that death rate into the perspective of the three-hour meeting.
“There is an average of one covid death per minute right now,” she said during the meeting. “In the time it takes us to have this ACIP meeting 180 people will have died from COVID-19, so we are acting none too soon.”
The committee voted that an estimated 21 million healthcare workers and three million nursing home residents and staff should be first in line to receive the vaccine from the initial limited supply, according to The Washington Post.
Healthcare workers are among the first to receive the vaccine in order to better protect them at the front lines as they treat COVID-19 patients in hospitals. Business Insider’s Aria Bendix reported that they could start receiving shots as early as mid-December.
Residents and staffers at nursing homes and long-term care facilities are also first in line, according to the ACIP’s recommendations. The group made up 6% of COVID-19 cases reported in the US and 40% of total deaths, citing data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Though the group voted to prioritize distribution to residents and staff at long-term care facilities, some ACIP members had doubts about voting to approve the recommendation.
Dr. Keipp Talbot, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and ACIP member, said it was concerning that the recommendation goes against traditional vaccine rollout methods.
“We have traditionally tried a vaccine in a young healthy population and then hoped it works in our frail, older adults. That concerns me on many levels, particularly for this vaccine,” Talbot said in the meeting, adding that the staff member should have higher priorities than the residents as it could have more of an effect in stemming the spread of the coronavirus in the communities.