CDC vaccine recommendations still leave many questions

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An influential advisory panel has recommended that health care workers and residents who live in nursing homes be the first in line for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“So far what they’ve recommended has made perfect sense,” said Debra Burger, registered nurse and president of National Nurses United. “It’s common sense that you would want to vaccinate healthcare workers.”

But there are some hesitations over what happens. Just as many Americans say they are hesitant to get a vaccine that was developed at lightning speed, nurses want to be sure the data supports the stunning findings put out by pharmaceutical companies.

“We do want to see the data so we have time to analyze it and make sure that we’re not going to be guinea pigs,” said Burger. “We really want to make sure that what they’re putting out in their press release is exactly what is put forward in their research papers and the data.”

Gov. Newsom has said the state will conduct its own review of any FDA-approved vaccines before distribution. And while the CDC will issue its recommendations, Newsom will ultimately decide how the doses are divided up in California.

How the state decides who falls under the “nursing home” umbrella could impact a lot of older, vulnerable people, says Dr. Jay Luxenberg, chief medical officer at On Lok Senior Care in San Francisco.

“It’s going to take wisdom for the government to figure out how to implement this. Is it simply that they’re in a place that’s licensed as a nursing home? Or are they going to be broader in their definition of long term care?"

His facility is not designated as a nursing home, but he says they care for many who are sick and elderly.

“They’re living in their own homes mostly, and we provide the home care. But it’s the same vulnerability if somebody was carrying COVID and they bring it to one person, and then go to the next person and then go to the next person.”

Gov. Newsom has said the state will issue its own distribution protocol this week.

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