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Older people who want an early Covid-19 vaccine might not get one as quickly as they’d like

Older people who want an early Covid-19 vaccine might not get one as quickly as they’d like

Older Americans eager to get vaccinated against Covid-19 may need to exercise some patience.


While Medicare — which insures much of the 65-and-older crowd — recently changed its rules so it can fully cover a fast-tracked vaccine, the availability of doses will be initially limited. And, individual states are tasked with actually distributing the vaccine and identifying priority populations to innoculate.


“I think there are still major issues to resolve with vaccine distribution, which is being primarily left up to states to work out,” said Juliette Cubanski, deputy director for the Kaiser Family Foundation’s program on Medicare policy.


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“That includes which populations will be prioritized when it comes to getting the initial doses once they are authorized or approved,” Cubanski said.


The specifics of each state’s preliminary plans for who they will vaccinate first differs a bit, although they generally target the same broad categories for Phase 1 of distribution, according to the foundation. That is, health-care workers, essential workers and individuals at high risk.


As the coronavirus crisis continues to worsen in the U.S., there’s optimism that at least one vaccine, if not two, may be available in limited quantities as early as next month. In the U.S., the coronavirus case tally is above 11.5 million with more than 250,000 deaths, accounting for about 20% of both the 56.3 million global cases and estimated 1.3 million Covid-19 deaths around the globe.

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