- The FDA approved the COVID vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna for emergency use in mid-December.
- Since FDA-approval, high-risk groups such as medical professionals and people living in long-term living facilities have been able to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.
- The vaccine is being distributed through a phased approach and the CEO of Moderna expects that most Americans will be able to get vaccinated by Memorial Day 2021. Below is a chart with data that represents how many vaccines have been distributed and administered in each state and the percentage of the population vaccinated.
COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The FDA granted emergency use authorization (EUA) to the vaccines created by Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern in mid-December.
Accordingly, some groups, such as healthcare workers and older populations, have already begun receiving their series of vaccinations.
Although these vaccines were developed in record time, they pose no threat to your health. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both ran phase three clinical trials on their vaccines.
The results of these trials showed that both vaccines were over 94% effective in preventing infection with COVID-19. For more information, see our article on COVID myths debunked.
When can I get the coronavirus vaccine in each state?
On January 6th, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $22 billion in funding for widespread testing and vaccine dissemination efforts.
This money will be used to ship the vaccines to pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and vaccination sites. Each state has drafted a plan for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. For your state’s plan, see this link.
States are following a phased protocol for distribution. In other words, the vaccine will be made available to different groups of people in timed phases based on need and risk.
For instance, if you are over the age of 65 or immunocompromised, you have been able to get a vaccine since December 2020. However, if you are young and healthy, you may need to wait until around April 2021.
Below we outline a possible COVID vaccine timeline for distribution.
Note that this is just an estimate and this process may be slower in states that are more rural and cannot easily accommodate the storage of vaccines. In addition, the vaccination plan can be delayed if emergency use authorization is not given to Moderna.
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COVID-19 Vaccine Timeline
Mid-December: Committee meets and FDA may approve vaccines for emergency use authorization.
Late December - January: Frontline health care workers, people living in long-term care facilities or nursing homes begin to get vaccinated. About 25-30 million people will get vaccinated each month.
February - March: Essential workers, those over 65, teachers, and people with pre-existing conditions get vaccinated. Moderna and Pfizer can ship 70 million vaccines each month. If other vaccines are approved we may be able to vaccinate 150 million people per month by March.
April - June: Healthy, nonessential workers will start receiving the vaccine. It is predicted that by Memorial Day 2021, almost all Americans will have access to the coronavirus vaccine.
October - November: If 75-85% of the country is willing to get vaccinated, we can begin to see a return to normalcy by the end of 2021.
Now that Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are authorized, when will they be available?
After the panel of committee members met, they made a recommendation to the FDA regarding the approval of the vaccine and whether they believe it to be safe and effective.
Since the committee members suggested that the vaccines be approved, the FDA made the final decision to authorize emergency use in mid-December.
When will everyone in the U.S. be able to get vaccinated?
According to the Operation Warp Speed Chief, all Americans who want a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to receive one by June 2021.
It is likely that there will be greater than 2 vaccines approved by this time.
While Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine was the first to get emergency use authorization, they require storage at extremely cold temperatures, which may not be feasible for certain areas of the country where the materials that are used to maintain these temperatures are lacking.
Therefore, other vaccines may be more suitable for rural areas of the United States.
Some of the other vaccine candidates that may be approved in 2020-2021 include AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
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How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine does each state get?
When the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were both approved, every state received shipments of some vaccines immediately. However, health officials note that the number of doses will vary by state.
Below we outline the number of doses that each state has received, how many vaccines have been administered, and the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated as of February 5th, 2021.
Doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed & administered in each state
We will update our table as more states release projections on the expected number of vaccines.
|State||Doses of Vaccine Distributed||Doses of Vaccine Administered||% of Population Vaccinated|
|Bureau of Prisons||30050||29754||0.08%|
|District of Columbia||148325||73328||0.16%|
|Dept of Defense||808800||415720||0.53%|
|Federated States of Micronesia||19400||3965||NA|
|Indian Health Svc||423400||191109||0.37%|
|Northern Mariana Islands||18650||9548||0.03%|
|New York State||2823575||1703218||2.71%|
|Republic of Palau||6000||3089||NA|
How does the FDA decide if the vaccine is approved?
A panel of 21 members from the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet to discuss their thoughts on the approval of a potential vaccine.
The committee will do a deep dive into the studies conducted on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. In addition, they will discuss potential side effects and ethical concerns about vaccine distribution.
The FDA is making an effort to be especially transparent regarding the process of vaccine approval.
Therefore, the panel meeting will include an open committee meeting where members of the public will be able to speak and ask questions. It is expected that the online meeting to review future coronavirus vaccines will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
During the meeting on Pfizer's vaccine, 17 committee members voted to recommend the authorization of the vaccine and 4 voted not to make this recommendation.
Likewise, 20 of the committee members voted to recommend Moderna’s vaccine for authorization, and a sole member of the committee abstained from voting. You can view recordings of these meetings online.
More questions on the coronavirus vaccine? Here are some helpful resources
- Moderna vs. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine - Which Is Best?
- Where & How To Get A Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine In NYC?
- How Much Will The COVID-19 Vaccine Cost? Without insurance
- When Will Things Go Back To Normal? What 2021 Might Look Like
Khang T. Vuong received his Master of Healthcare Administration from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. He was named Forbes Healthcare 2021 30 under 30. Vuong spoke at Stanford Medicine X, HIMSS conference, and served as a Fellow at the Bon Secours Health System.