When Can You Get a COVID-19 Vaccination?

Posted By Mike Meyer, Monday, December 14, 2020


By Michael Meyer, Content Writer/Editor, American Med Spa Association

This year has been a trying one for the entire world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as we near 2020's close, we'e received the amazing news that a COVID-19 vaccine has been created and approved by governments throughout the world, which suggests that the end of the pandemic may be in sight. This does raise some important questions—who gets priority for vaccination, and when will the vaccine be available to the general population? Here's what we know so far about how the vaccine will administered.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that health care personnel who have potential for direct or indirect exposure to COVID-19 and residents of long-term care facilities will receive the first doses of the vaccine. These groups have been determined to carry an exceptionally high risk of infection, so the initial shipments of the vaccine are being earmarked for them. Health care workers have already begun receiving the vaccination, and residents of long-term care facilities will begin receiving theirs next week.

The next groups to receive vaccinations are expected to be essential workers, those with underlying medical conditions and adults 65 and older. Thus far, it is unknown when these vaccinations will begin or how they will be administered. Keep in mind that these groups are enormous—according to the Economic Policy Institute, there were approximately 39 million essential workers in industries other than health care in 2019 (the health care workers are presumably among the first group to be vaccinated), and according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, there are approximately 54 million adults over 65 in U.S.

After these groups are vaccinated, more general distribution of the vaccine should begin. According to White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, it's possible that this could happen by the end of March or early April 2021.

However, there are a few underlying issues that could complicate matters. Primarily, the U.S. has only committed to purchasing 100 million doses of the vaccine. Since two doses of the vaccine are required for it to be approximately 95% effective, that allotment will be exhausted long before vaccination of the essential workers, people with underlying medical issues and older Americans is completed. (The health care workers/residents of long-term care facilities priority group is expected to account for approximately 48 million doses, according to the CDC.) The U.S. could strike an expanded deal with Pfizer (the vaccine's manufacturer), but if it doesn't, it will need to wait much longer for additional doses—until after Pfizer fulfills its existing agreements with other countries, which could be as late as June 2021. It is unlikely that this will happen, but it is possible.

What Does This Mean for Medical Spa Employees?

Unless a medical spa employee is also working at a hospital that is treating COVID-19 patients or at a long-term care facility, they are not eligible to receive the vaccine during the first wave of vaccinations. If you have an underlying medical condition that makes you more susceptible to contracting or succumbing to COVID-19 (diabetes, for example), or you are over 65, you may qualify for the second wave of vaccinations, but medical spa employees are not considered "essential workers," so that particular path to the vaccine is closed.

This means that, for the most part, medical spa employees are unfortunately going to need to wait until the vaccine is made available to the general public. We're not sure when that will be, but when subsequent phases of the distribution program are announced, we will let you know.

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