There may only be small quantities of a vaccine at first, so it will be offered to those who are most at risk first. Eventually every adult will be offered the vaccine.
The groups to be prioritised to receive a COVID-19 vaccine first, are decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) at a UK level. This is based on knowledge around who is most at risk from COVID-19. Full details now available here.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.
This priority list is as follows:
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.
JCVI advises that implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine programme should aim to achieve high vaccine uptake. An age-based programme will likely result in faster delivery and better uptake in those at the highest risk.
As the first phase of the programme is rolled out in the UK, additional data will become available on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. These data will provide the basis for consideration of vaccination in groups that are at lower risk of mortality from COVID-19.
The committee is currently of the view that the key focus for the second phase of vaccination could be on further preventing hospitalisation.
Vaccination of those at increased risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 due to their occupation could also be a priority in the next phase.
Wider use of COVID-19 vaccines will provide a better understanding of whether they can prevent infection and onward transmission in the population. Data on vaccine impact on transmission, along with data on vaccine safety and effectiveness, will potentially allow for consideration of vaccination across the rest of the population.
As trials in children and pregnant women are completed, we will also gain a better understanding of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in these persons.