As the Pfizer vaccine is being distributed to states across the U.S., states are having to decide how to allocate the vaccine to citizens. Most states plan to vaccinate frontline workers first, followed by the elderly living in nursing homes. So, after the frontline workers and the elderly, who is next? What about all of the “essential” workers who are not on the frontlines or elderly?
Frontline and Essential Workers in Missouri – Is There a Difference?
According to the New York Times, in Missouri, roughly 71% of the total workforce is regarded as “essential.” Of that 71% of essential workers, 51% are frontline workers. Essential workers are defined by the Department of Homeland Security as people who have “jobs that help maintain critical infrastructure during a pandemic.” Frontline workers, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, are those essential workers whose jobs could not be performed from home. For reference, a prison guard, nurse, or food processing worker would be regarded as a “frontline worker,” while teachers, lawyers, and retail workers are regarded as “essential workers.”
The Plan for Missouri
Missouri plans to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers first. On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Dr. Randall Williams announced that Missouri hopes to give its first doses of coronavirus vaccine in a couple of weeks. According to Dr. Williams, Missouri plans to set up more than a dozen vaccination sites across the state. By the end of January, Dr. Williams hopes to have had about 250,000 to 300,000 Missourians vaccinated—just under 5% of the total population of the state.
So, where does that leave essential workers and the rest of the population? According to ABC17, Dr. Williams says, “We think we will have four vaccines by February or March, to allocate to them then we think by late April. Early May we move to phase three, which will be three million Missourians and my great hope is by August we will be at 70% to 80% of vaccinations or natural immunity. That would get us to herd immunity.”