Essential front-line workers and people aged 75 and above will be the next group to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the US, according to recommendations from the Centres for Disease Control.
They will follow health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities who were made a top priority by the Trump administration.
The recommendations came within hours of work starting on distributing the Moderna vaccine, the second to be approved by the CDC.
An estimated 30 million people are expected to be in this tranche of essential workers including police officers, postal workers, teachers, those employed in food production, agriculture and on public transport.
This group can expect to be inoculated in February.
“Essential workers are at high risk because of exposure, by virtue of being in contact with others, in performing their duties. Prevention of disease in essential workers may reduce transmission to others,” said Dr Kathleen Dooling, one of the lead physicians who decided on the recommendations.
The next group to receive vaccines will be people aged 65 and above, along with those between 16 and 64 with medical conditions which put them at risk and another tranche of essential workers in a number of industries including the media, the law, construction and logistics.
Operation Warp Speed, the body set up by the Trump administration, said it expects to distribute 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month.
By the end of February, it is anticipated that 180 million doses will have been issued – enough to inoculate 90 million people.