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Interim Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution in the United States

Report cover for Interim Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution in the United States
Eric Toner, Anne Barnill, Carleigh Krubiner, Justin Bernstein, Lois Privor-Dumm, Mathew Watson, Elena Martin, Christina Potter, Divya Hosangadi, Nancy Connell, Crystal Watson, Monica Schoch-Spana, Tener Goodwin Veenema, Diane Meyer, E. Lee Daugherty Biddison, Alan Regenberg, Tom Inglesby, Anita Cicero
Date posted:
August 19, 2020
Publication type:
The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security
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The COVID-19 pandemic will continue for the foreseeable future, but widespread vaccination could hasten its end. At least 165 candidate vaccines for the SARS CoV-2 virus are in development around the world and there is hope that one or more of these candidates will soon be shown to be sufficiently safe and effective to achieve emergency use authorization in the United States. When a vaccine has been authorized for use, it will initially be in limited supply. During this period of scarcity, a plan is needed for how to allocate and distribute the limited supply—which groups should be prioritized to receive the vaccine first and which groups can wait until later. This difficult and potentially contentious topic is being actively discussed in the United States by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), as well as globally at the World Health Organization (WHO) and elsewhere. The purpose of this report is to offer an additional ethics framework for use in making decisions about allocation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine during this initial period of scarcity in the United States and make related suggestions about vaccine distribution. Our approach takes into account considerations of medical risk, public health, ethics and equity, economic impact, and logistics. We note where our approach aligns or differs from the 2018 CDC guidance for vaccine allocation in a severe influenza pandemic, which is the most recent pandemic vaccine guidance from the US government.



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