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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's generally agreed that essential workers should be toward the front of the coronavirus vaccine line due to their high risk of infection, but states will soon have to decide how to order different occupations.

Why it matters: Millions of Americans are considered essential workers, but not all of them can be at the front of the vaccine line when there will be such a limited initial supply.

What's happening: "It's been a free-for-all in recent weeks as manufacturers, grocers, bank tellers, dentists and drive-share companies all jostle to get a spot near the front of the line," Kaiser Health News reports.

  • "Tough choices lie ahead, such as: Is it more important to prioritize teachers who come into contact with many people each day, or farmworkers, who can't work remotely and provide the country's food?" KHN writes.

Between the lines: States, which will ultimately make prioritization calls, are signaling different priorities.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that after frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, people over 65 and those with significant health conditions will receive vaccines.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, on the other hand, said grade school teachers should be next, along with first responders and adults with significant illnesses.

The big picture: It's not just about what occupations should receive priority; disease advocacy groups are also lobbying for their patients to be at the front of the line.

Go deeper: Jumping the line for a vaccine will be pretty easy

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Updated 20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers — U.S. on the lookout for Omicron casesFDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill.
  2. Politics: Biden says fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns" — Two federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Pentagon denies Oklahoma National Guard request for exemption from vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron — COVID-19 "radically altered mobility" globally, UN says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.