Where do you fall on the CDC's virus immunization schedule?

First the good news. The first government trial of a vaccine for the coronavirus, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NHS) starts today in Seattle. The not-so-good news is that it’s going to take anywhere from a year to 18 months before any vaccine finishes human testing and is approved for general distribution. Other private testing is also starting at a variety of laboratories around the country and the world.

The first participant in a clinical trial for a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus will receive an experimental dose on Monday, according to a government official.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The official who disclosed plans for the first participant spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been publicly announced.

Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

So once we have an approved, safe, functional vaccine, obviously there won’t be 340 million doses available on day one. Who gets vaccinated first? It turns out the CDC has a plan in place and it’s published on their website. Just so you know what you have to look forward to, let’s check out the categories and find where you land on the waiting list. The schedule is broken down into four tiers, with those at the top getting the first vaccines when they are ready to go.

Are you in the military, the National Guard or any federal intelligence service or in Homeland Security? If so, I’ve got some great news for you. You are at the top of the list of people to receive vaccines before anyone else. Here is tier 1. (Click on pictures below for full-size image.)

Up next in line to (hopefully) survive with coronavirus immunity are those who work in the healthcare field. If you’re involved in almost any way, including doctors, nurses, clinicians, or even morticians, you’ll be getting your vaccination just as soon as the military is taken care of. I suppose that makes sense, because without you we may not have anyone to administer the vaccinations.

Don’t see a category for yourself yet? Not to worry. Plenty of people will qualify for the third tier, though some of them seem a little bit out of place. The people lucky enough to make the cut will come from various sectors including EMS workers, law enforcement and other first responders. (Makes sense.) Also included are people involved in manufacturing the vaccines. (Ditto.) But then we come to “critical government personnel.” (Hmmm.) And those involved in “banking and finance” (!?!) and a few other industries. Wait… how did Wall Street make the cut?

If you didn’t qualify for any of those categories I’ve got some bad news for you. You fall into the bottom tier, including “everyone else.” It’s named the “General Population” tier. And at the very bottom of that tier are healthy adults age 19-65 and all adults age 65 and over.

There you have it. That’s the CDC’s priority list of who gets saved first and who has to wait for the final doses to be produced. Feeling better? For what it’s worth, all of the categories in each tier, including the “everyone else” pool are supposed to be ranked equally. In other words, pregnant women (at the top of tier four) should have the same chance as “healthy adults 19-64 years old.” But there’s no word as to who makes the call if a pregnant woman and a healthy 30-year-old male show up at the same time and there’s only one dose left.

Sleep tight, America.