When can you get a Covid vaccination? Your state decides

When there is a shortage demand goes up! Remember toilet paper and cleaning supplies?

1-13-21 UPDATE

SOME STATES ARE FIRST VACCINATING 65+ OR 75+ THEN 65+. For example, CALIFORNIA JUST WENT TO 65+ STARTING 1-13-20. They are prioritized over essential workers due to the high death rates 65+ and surges and virus new mutations. After age 65, death rates go way up the older you get. See the data table below.

All, or almost all states, all will be completing Phase 1a Health care personnel (21M) and residents of long-term care facilities (3M). Total 24 Million.

See what your state is doing compared to other states – not updated for new CDC 65+ requirements above

Details by state

A new analysis examines the different approaches states are taking to manage the limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines and balance the desire to vaccinate those at greatest risk first with the need to ensure a fast and effective statewide vaccination effort.

Based on a review of state vaccination plans, the analysis finds that states are increasingly departing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations as they move through the first three phases of distribution (known as Phases 1a, 1b, and 1c).

Overall State-by-State Data Reveals Range of Early Approaches to Managing “Vaccination Line” and Many States Departing from CDC Recommendations Source: KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), a non-profit not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente HMO.

The analysis concludes that identifying specific priority groups may more effectively target a limited supply of vaccines but may also lead to greater difficulty in implementing vaccine distribution plans and make it harder to communicate those plans to the public. The growing variations across states suggest that a person’s place in the COVID-19 vaccine priority line will increasingly depend on where they live.

New CDC Guidelines, December 20, 2020.

The CDC recommends who gets the vaccine and when.
Your state makes the final decisions.

Who can be vaccinated in the Phases is decided by each state. Which groups get the vaccines first, second, etc., will be difficult decisions. This is already controversial. Many organizations, such as airlines, are trying to get their persons prioritized. Others want to be added to the list of essential workers in Phase 1c.

See what your state says on their web site. Follow your state and local news to find out what is being planned.

States differ widely in what they plan to do

For example, some states want to include correctional facility workers and prisoners. Other states want to include everyone 65 and older in Phase 1b. There will be many variations on how the states decide what groups go into each phase. Every state sent its distribution plan to the CDC by a deadline before the vaccines were distributed.

For info on details of the CDC Guideline’s Phases so you can compare with your state, age as a factor, and more info, click Continue Reading below.

Your age is a factor that is black and white, but:
Phase 1b: 75 and older. Phase 1c: 65 to 74. The original plan submitted to the CDC by my state, and all other states, used 65 and older as the only age category. Some states are combining both age groups into 65 and older. Looking at CDC data, your risk of death dramatically increases every year after age 65.


Elderly vs. essential workers is a difficult decision for the states. To reduce deaths, prioritize the elderly. To reduce the rate of infection and bolster the economy, prioritize essential workers.

What vaccine will you get? Whatever is available for now due to the shortage.


Phases 1a, 1b, 1c, and 2 – Description and estimated number of persons

Phase 1a is approved. Phase 1b is expected to be approved soon. Phase 1c has not been approved by the CDC. NOTE: These phases are expected to overlap as vaccines become more available.

Your age is a factor that is black and white:
Phase 1b: 75 and older
Phase 1c: 65 to 74
However, some states are combining them into 65 and older.

Phase 1a Health care personnel (21M) and residents of long-term care facilities (3M). Total 24 Million

Approved by CDC, December 1. Notes: Workers in nursing homes are also being vaccinated. Vaccinations have started, but supply is below what was expected in many states. CVS and Walgreens are doing most of the nursing home vaccinations at the request of the nursing homes.

Phase 1b Persons 75 years and older. (21M) Frontline Essential Workers (30M) Total 51 Million

Released December 20. CDC approval is expected soon. (Examples: Education Sector, Food & Agriculture, Utilities, Police, Firefighters, Corrections Officers, Transportation)

Phase 1b – List of Frontline essential workers: first responders (e.g.,  firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.

Phase 1c All other essential workers (57M). Persons aged 65-74 years (32M). Persons aged 16-64 years with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19§ (110M) Not approved by CDC yet. Total 199 Million

Phase 1c List of medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19§ See the link below for more detailed information under the table’s Science section.

Phase 1c – List of All other essential workers: workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety (e.g., engineers), and public health workers.

Phase 2 – 16-64 years without high-risk medical conditions (86M)

Note: research has started for 15 and under years and more is planned.

For a detailed list of the persons in each phase plus other information, such as why they were included in the groups, read Evidence Table for COVID-19 Vaccines Allocation in Phases 1b and 1c of the Vaccination Program

The ACIP Vaccines Work Group (ACIP) makes recommendations to the CDC, which usually approves them. For an easy to read and understand summary with good illustrations, read AICP Covid-19 Vaccines Work Group. Phased Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccines, December 20, 2020

For more links and information, read The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Updated Interim Recommendation for Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine — the United States, December 2020 Vaccines Note: this CDC document is understandable but not an easy read (not well-formatted)

States differ in what they plan to do. Some states want to include correctional facility workers and prisoners, include everyone 65 and older in the same group. There will be many variations on how the states decide what groups go into each phase. See what your state says on their web site. Follow your state and local news to find out what is actually being done.

Vaccine doses are limited now. If your state does not receive enough doses for all of them, who will get it first? For example, who does your state classify as a healthcare worker?

Vaccine side effects are relatively mild from the current top vaccines. They show you that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune response. They have been mild for the three top vaccines so far: some pain at the shot site and mild flu/cold type symptoms for a day or two. Few side effects for any age group have occurred. Side effects may be less for older people, possibly due to previous exposure to the flu (coronavirus) or other viruses.

Children are expected to be the last to be vaccinated. This is typical for vaccines. Everyone wants to be sure it is very safe first. No one under 12 has been included in the current clinical trials. Clinical trials will start in January testing the safety of Covid-19 vaccines on pregnant women and young children per Dr. Fauci. Moderna will soon start clinical trials on 3,000 children and teens age 12-17. In my opinion, the big risk in schools is adults. When teachers and other school workers are vaccinated a lot more schools will open.

Face masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, etc. will still be required until we get 70-75% of the population vaccinated and get herd immunity which will not occur until next year. For now, we only know that the top vaccines keep you from getting symptoms. You have to assume that, after vaccination, you are infected and can infect others. We don’t have any data yet as this was not tested in the clinical trials. Hopefully, soon we will find out that the vaccine keeps you from infecting other people!

Not everyone wants to take the vaccine, and others cannot take vaccines for medical reasons. There are always some people who cannot take a vaccine for health reasons, even if they want it. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% efficacious and do not work on 5% of people. The seasonal flu vaccines only work on an average of 50% of the people who get them.

My personal comments on when I can get vaccinated

I am 75 years old and eligible for Phase 1b. Fortunately, California, where I live, put me in 1b Tier One, with teachers and others.

But, what if my state did not use CDC guidelines? If my state had combined everyone into 65 and over, what phase will I be in? In Phase 1b, what if your state decides to make certain essential workers a higher priority than 75 or over?

Every day I watch for any news and have listened to recordings of a state advisory committee. The original plan submitted to the CDC by my state, and all other states, used 65 and older as the only age category.

I am a real estate appraiser and publish monthly and weekly appraiser newsletters, which discuss Covid issues. I am getting emails from appraisers about whether appraisers are in Phase 1c. Whether or not appraisers can qualify for Phase 1C per CDC Guidelines appears uncertain to me.

Phase 1c and appraisers is very unclear. Most appraisers go inside homes for bank mortgage loans, which is risky. But they don’t work all day going inside homes. Appraisers can always decline the appraisal if it appears risky. They don’t interface with customers all day, such as a bank teller. Of course, your state could include appraisers.

Appraisers were considered essential workers for the March Shelter in place. I don’t know how this relates to current CDC Phases.

Most assumed that appraisers qualified under “financial services” for shelter in place if you are working for a lender. A few states have included appraisers in their shelter in place regulations.

If not working for a lender, your state has to specify that you are essential.
I don’t do lender work, so I have always assumed that I am not considered an essential worker. My state does not list appraisers as essential workers in their regulations for shelter in place.

2 Replies to “When can you get a Covid vaccination? Your state decides”

  1. I know a speech therapist, massage therapist, and child psychologist who have been vaccinated via a personal contact at the hospital who hooked them up with appointments. Sort of health-care-adjacent, but not exactly front-line health care heroes. Isn’t this the definition of privilege – exploiting social networks to receive benefits not generally available to others? It looks like gaming the system in the context of institutional hoarding.

    1. Yes, it is an issue. New York Gov. wants to fine “line jumpers”. CA governor says most important to get vaccine into people’s arms – said just give it to next group if needed. I’m 77 and can’t wait to get mine. Maybe February for first shot. Kaiser, my HMO, just vaccinated all their health care workers. Did not to try to break it down into frontline covid care vs. mental health therapists working remote (I know one of them.). A big issue is vaccine that is left over, but must be used very quickly. Better to give it to anyone than no one. Unfortunately, not much direction from CDC on what to do. every state, and some counties are different. Hard to believe how CDC has fallen so far from being the best in the world. Very sad. Countries all over the world have named theirs CDC also.

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