States publish coronavirus vaccine distribution plans

All 50 states have released plans for distributing a coronavirus vaccine once one or more have been made available. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set an October 16 deadline for states to submit first drafts of the plans.

The CDC asked states to respond to a set of planning assumptions in a document released to states on September 16 titled “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations.” The playbook identified 15 broad categories, including critical populations, vaccine storage and handling, and vaccine safety monitoring, that states were asked to consider in their plans.

As of December 3, 2020, the CDC’s website said, “The federal government will oversee a centralized system to order, distribute, and track COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines will be ordered through CDC. Vaccine providers will receive vaccines from CDC’s centralized distributor or directly from a vaccine manufacturer.”

The federal government will work with state, territorial, and tribal governments, which will have final authority over distribution priorities. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said governors are “going to tell us which hospital, which pharmacies, where they would like it [the vaccine] to go. … And they will be determining which groups to be prioritized.” The CDC voted on December 1 to recommend health care workers and long-term care residents receive vaccines in the first phase of distribution before the general population, but the decision was not binding on governors.

Ballotpedia has compiled links to all 50 distribution plans. To read your state’s plan and learn about the federal government’s role in distributing vaccines, click the button below.