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Here's Who Gets the COVID Vaccine Last, Says Dr. Fauci

These people will get first dibs—and kids will get the vaccine last.

The first coronavirus vaccines are shipping out today, to the relief of millions of Americans—the "light at the end of the tunnel" of this pandemic. States will prioritize who will receive it first, guided by the advice of a CDC advisory group, which recommended that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities—both deemed to be at "exceptionally high risk"—be the first to receive the double dose. But who will be the last?

During an interview with Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and Director of the National Institutes of Health, revealed who will be first line for the COVID-19 vaccine, and he's previously discussed who will be last. Read on to find out when you can get your vaccine, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Said the "Highest Priority" People Get the Vaccine in December

"By the time we get into December, we'll be able to have doses available for people who are judged to be at the highest priority," Fauci revealed. In another interview with PBS, Fauci revealed that those "higher priority groups" would be determined "according to the recommendation of the CDC." 

Per the CDC in addition to age, there are a number of underlying medical conditions that would deem an adult of any age to be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. These include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies, immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2), severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

RELATED: COVID Symptoms Usually Appear in This Order, Study Finds

Dr. Fauci Says We Can All Get the Vaccine by April or May

Fauci is hopeful that "by the time you get into the middle, towards the end of the first quarter of 2021, you will have accounted for and vaccinated those who are in the higher priority groups." Then, by April or early May, the vaccine will be more readily available to the general public. "I would project by the time you get to April, it will be … 'open season,' in the sense of anyone, even the non-high priority groups could get vaccinated," Fauci said.

Last to get the vaccine are likely children. Studies on how the vaccine works on them—and how it affects pregnant women—are still to be done. That kind of study "will not necessarily be looking at efficacy, but we'll be looking at safety and immunogenicity to bridge to the efficacy in the adult non-pregnant population," Fauci said at Columbia University's Grand Rounds 2020 event. "The same holds true for the pediatric population. Those studies will probably start in mid- to late-January."

"It's going to be months," Fauci replied, when asked on Meet the Press when kids might get the vaccine.

"And the reason is, traditionally when you have a situation like a new vaccine, you want to make sure, because children as well as pregnant women, are vulnerable." Until the vaccine is available to all, be safe out there, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more