Here are the states that broke from the CDC guidelines on vaccine priority

Top line

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that the Covid-19 vaccine should go to healthcare professionals first – guidance most states seem to follow – but many states have indicated they will deviate from the CDC’s suggestion as to who will get it next: 75 people and essential elderly workers.

Main aspects

States that prioritize older residents over essential workers: Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma (adults with pre-existing conditions included)

States prioritize essential workers over older residents: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Nevada.

States that prioritize older residents and people with pre-existing conditions over essential workers: Hawaii (first responders were included in the first phase), Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas

States that prioritize people with pre-existing conditions over older residents and essential workers: North Carolina

What to watch for

States have not yet announced specific guidance for a second round of filming: Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Key background

The committee recommending vaccine priority for the CDC, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), sparked controversy after it initially recommended essential workers to be immunized earlier than people over the age of 65 and those over 65 with high-risk medical conditions in the second round of vaccines. Faced with a limited supply of vaccines, some states are already indicating that they will ration doses differently than the CDC recommended for the second round, known as “Phase 1b,” although many have not finalized their criteria.


States are not required by law to adhere to CDC guidelines, but most have followed the recommendations for the so-called “Phase 1a group,” which outlined who should get the first round of hits.

Big number

17.6 million. This is the number of health care workers and long-term care residents who fall into the Phase 1a category, according to an estimate from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Phase 1b group is made up of approximately 49 million people, according to CBS News.

Surprising fact

More than 1.1 million people have already been vaccinated in the United States, according to a tally conducted by the New York Times.

Crucial quote

“Vaccines will be targeted where the risk is greatest, and this is in our elderly population,” Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) Said at a news conference this week. “We will not put young and healthy workers ahead of our elderly and vulnerable population.” Florida is home to more than 3 million people over 70.

Further reading

Trump administration reaches agreement for 100 million additional doses of Pfizer vaccine (Forbes)

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna tests vaccines against the new Covid-19 variant that spreads in the UK (Forbes)

DeSantis will not prioritize essential Florida workers for Covid vaccine, discontinuing with CDC (Forbes) panel leadership

COVID-19 Vaccination Plan Means Some States Will Delay Getting Shots to High-Risk Groups (USA Today)