States deviate from CDC guidelines on vaccine distribution

Several states are straying from the CDC's national guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine prioritization, including Texas, which is prioritizing residents 65 and older and adults with serious medical conditions in its next round of vaccinations, according to the Houston Chronicle

The CDC's guidelines say Americans over age 75 and front-line essential workers such as agricultural workers and teachers should be prioritized in the second round. 

"The focus on people who are age 65 and older or who have comorbidities will protect the most vulnerable populations," Imelda Garcia, chair of Texas' vaccine advisory panel, told the Houston Chronicle. "This approach ensures that Texans at the most severe risk from COVID-19 can be protected across races and ethnicities and regardless of where they work."

Older people in Texas have made up more than 70 percent of the state's COVID-19 deaths. 

In Massachusetts, prisoners, corrections officers, police officers and firefighters are included in the first round of vaccine recipients, alongside healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff, according to CNBC. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he intends to prioritize those over age 70 to get the vaccine before essential workers.

Jen Kates, PhD, senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC she expects to see more states break from CDC guidelines as vaccines continue to roll out. 

"It's not really about right or wrong, but it is about state values," she said.

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