Where We Are With the COVID Vaccine in 2021 — And What to Expect Next: Part I

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Vaccines represent the light at the end of the tunnel during the darkest days of the pandemic. We are currently in the early stages of the rollout, with frontline health care workers and seniors quickly receiving the doses they so desperately need. Meanwhile, the rest of us are wondering when we’ll be eligible and what we can do to stay safe as we wait. Keep reading to find out:

Recent Changes in Vaccine Guidance

Previously, official vaccine guidance advocated for a tiered approach, in which recipients were categorized not only based on age, but also according to their health issues and their status as essential workers. Now, however, the federal government is advocating for the swift vaccination of all people ages 65 and older, as well as all those under the age of 65 who have worrisome comorbidities.

While federal guidelines have evolved, distribution at the state and regional level remains in question. Continued challenges exist, such as finding opportunities to vaccinate health care employees who work long hours, as well as reaching high-risk individuals who remain homebound. As additional guidance is released on a more regional level, these and other issues can finally be addressed.

Accelerating the Pace of Vaccination

With vaccine manufacturing and distribution starting to become more consistent, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expects that as many as one million people per day will be able to receive the vaccine. Soon, the vast majority of those within residential care facilities will have secured the first dose.

The situation with vaccination is changing quickly, but for the hundreds of millions of Americans struggling through the pandemic, hope is finally on the horizon. Until then, we can all play our part by continuing to follow the standard advice: masks, hand-washing, and social distancing.