Barbara D. Alexander, M.D., MHS, FIDSA – President, Infectious Diseases Society of America on CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Ethical Principles for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine:
The four principles established by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Ethical Principles for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine set a positive course for mitigating and containing the impacts of the pandemic. As the committee members note, distribution based on maximizing a vaccine’s benefits and reducing the spread of disease, addressing unfair barriers and inequities and ensuring diligent tracking and transparency will be essential. Prioritizing initial distribution to health care personnel and other frontline workers, adults with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious illness and older adults will protect those at greatest risk and will benefit us all by curtailing the spread of the virus.
At a time when COVID relief legislation remains stalled, however, living up to the principles outlined by ACIP will not be possible without significantly expanded resources. Resources needed include funding for states to enable equitable distribution, a strongly supported public education campaign, engagement with community-based organizations representing underserved communities and support for the necessary public health outreach and tracking to ensure the vaccine reaches those who have experienced disparate access to health services. As the advisory committee also notes, initial supplies of vaccine will not be sufficient to reach all of those at greatest need. We must be able to count on ongoing funding to ensure fair and effective vaccine allocation.