Frontline workers are one step closer to seeing a COVID-19 vaccine. Advisors to the CDC voted Tuesday to allow healthcare workers and the residents of long-term care facilities to be the first to receive vaccines when the FDA gives emergency authorization. The group voted 13 to 1 on this Phase 1a of the distribution plan. 

“Almost every group that has weighed in on who should receive the vaccine first has identified healthcare personnel at the top of the list,” said Dr. Robert Atmar, a CDC Advisory Committee member.

The CDC reports that 6% of coronavirus cases and 40% of the deaths are coming from long-term care facility residents.  

“That information persuaded me to add them to the initial group to receive the virus,” Atmar said in an interview Tuesday. “Certainly this is the group that suffers the greatest burden of disease,” he added. 

Nearly 860 healthcare workers have died from the virus. The CDC expects to have enough vaccine for 20 million people by the end of the year. 

Still there are groups who are skeptical and even fearful. Kilgore Rand leads the group called “I Do Not Comply” out of Athens.

 “We think COVID is being used to usher in a new world of authoritarianism,” Rand told CBS46. “We think that lockdowns masks and coerced vaccinations are not characteristic of a free democratic society,” he continued. He and supporters hung banners across the interstate in Dacula over the weekend to express their right to decline the vaccine—part of a grassroots effort across several cities.

“We are based on choice and the presumption of innocence, and we’ve lost that presumption of innocence because now everyone is presumed to be sick,” Rand stated.

Still, today the nation’s top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci says the virus will continue to disrupt lives unless the “overwhelming majority” of Americans take the vaccine. 

The next groups "1b" the CDC panel will consider for distribution approval will- will include teachers, law enforcement, firefighters and other essential workers.

 The group 1c will include persons with underlying conditions who are at higher risk of developing complications, including people 65 and older.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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