US health officials discuss who should get 1st vaccine doses

After an emergency meeting in Atlanta, health officials have decided to encourage the nation’s governors to give the first available vaccine doses to health care workers and seniors in nursing homes.
4:01 | 12/02/20

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Transcript for US health officials discuss who should get 1st vaccine doses
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on this Tuesday night. We have a lot to get to tonight. President trump and the election and the attorney general bill the A.G. Declaring there was no evidence of widespread voting fraud. We're going to get tonight with news coming in right now from the CDC. The vote this evening by committee of experts recommending who should get the vaccine first. And tonight, even with the first batch of pfizer vaccine here in the U.S. Already, pfizer is waiting for emergency use authorization. The head of the fda was at the white house today and was asked why no approval yet, when should Americans expect it? Tonight, hospitalizations rising in 43 states. Washington, D.C. And Puerto Rico. The number of patients fighting covid in the hospital, more than 96,000. That's another record. And tonight in New York City, hospitalizations back where they were in June and they are asking retired nurses and doctors to be prepared to help. In fact, the number of hospitalizations in New York City more than doubling in just the last three weeks. The governor very alarmed with what they're seeing here. But we're going to begin here tonight with that vote a short time ago at the CDC. The recommendation on the vaccine and who should get them first. ABC's Steve osunsami at the CDC leading us off in Atlanta. Reporter: American health officials tonight are calling it "Phase 1a" after an emergency meeting in Atlanta. They've decided to encourage the nation's governors to give the first available doses of the coronavirus vaccine to certain seniors and health care workers. In discussions with the jurisdictions, most of them believe that they can vaccinate all of their health care workers within three weeks. Reporter: The government is expecting about 40 million doses from two drugmakers in the next few weeks, enough to immunize 20 million Americans. The experts took a vote and said that the best use of these first shipments is to first cover some of the heroes, the nation's 21 million health care workers, including tho work in hospitals, pharmacies and clinics. And they say we also need to try and first immunize the most at risk, the nation's 3 million seniors, and the people who care for them, who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 40% of all coronavirus deaths in this country happened in these long-term care facilities. If we can hold together as a country and in the next 60 days, vaccinate all of these residents, we can cut the death rate almost in half. Reporter: The fda still hasn't yet approved any of the vaccines for emergency use. And the head of the agency got an earful from white house today E of this. He explains that the pfizer vaccine could get a green light after a meeting next week. No one at fda is sitting on his hands or her hands. Everybody's working really hard to look at these applications and get this done. Reporter: Once the fda says yes, the states have to make tough decisions. California, for example, will get about 327,000 doses in the next few weeks. But there are more than 2.4 million californians who work in health care in the city of Chicago, about 25,000 doses are already dedicated. We have plans that will start with all 37 Chicago hospitals receiving vaccine for health care workers, not yet for patients. And we have plans for all 128 long-term care facilities in Chicago. This is going to be a herculean effort. Let's get to Steve osunsami. There's news on another front CDC out with new guidance tonight, planning to shorten the recommended quarantine time for people who believe they've been exposed to others with the virus? Reporter: That's right, David. The CDC briefed the white house on this today, so, this is becoming real. Currently, if you are exposed to someone who is infected with the coronavirus, you are expected to quarantine for 14 days. What they're changing it to is this -- if you can get a negative test, that quarantine would become seven days. Without one, ten days. The idea behind this is that 14 days is too restrictive for most Americans and that seven or ten days is much more realistic. David? Steve osunsami leading us off Steve, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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