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COVID-19 Vaccine Should Go To Essential Healthcare Workers First, Johns Hopkins University Experts Say

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As researchers across the world rush to develop a safe COVID-19 vaccine, questions are starting to emerge about who will get the vaccine first.

A group from John's Hopkins University released recommendations about who should be first in line.

"There is certainly general consensus from my perspective that front line workers need to be part of the initial roll out, because it does the greatest good for everybody," said Carleigh Krubiner an associate faculty member in the Berman Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

The group released a report which includes two tiers.


Tier 1 includes essential workers who help in the ongoing COVID-19 response, people at risk of severe illness and death, along with their caregivers, and people who are essential to maintaining core societal functions.

In tier 2, experts included people who face greater barriers to access care if they become seriously ill, workers who contribute to the maintenance of core societal functions, or those living or working in conditions that expose them to an elevated risk of infection.

"There is certainly general consensus from my perspective that front line workers need to be part of the initial roll out," said Krubiner "I think there is a broad recognition that if we don't have a functioning health system, if we don't have basic ways to enable the food supply or other essential functions of society, to keep going, then everybody will be harmed."

According to Johns Hopkins, more than 795,000 people have died from the virus worldwide. Maryland health officials have said more than 3,500 people have died in the state, including Dr. Joseph Costa. He was the chief of Mercy Medical Center's Critical Care Division, a tragedy which underscores front line workers are vulnerable.

"What's at risk if the vaccines go to the wrong people," the reporter asked. "I think if we don't have clear allocation strategy that directs vaccines to where they can do the most good and to the people who need them the most, there is going to be an erosion of trust," said Krubiner "And the other problem is if we don't strategically allocated vaccines, we are not going to be able to control the pandemic as quickly as we could under alternative strategies."

Experts have said a vaccine may not be available for wide distribution until late 2021.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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