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Hospitals are figuring out which of their workers to vaccinate first, with the understanding that there likely won't be enough vaccines for everyone initially, the Wall Street Journal reports.

By the numbers: It's expected that there will be enough vaccines for 20 million people in December, per federal officials.

  • That's slightly less than what's needed to vaccinate all 24 million frontline medical workers and long-term care residents, which are the groups the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says should receive the shots first.

What they're doing: Some hospitals are considering a lottery system, for example, while others are trying to figure out which of their workers are most at-risk of exposure.

  • Essential workers don't just include clinical staff. Employees who clean rooms, deliver food and register patients are also being considered vaccine priorities.

Between the lines: Some hospitals are also accounting for some workers having side effects from the vaccine at a time when many are already short-staffed.

The bottom line: Health care workers' workload isn't going away any time soon, but in a few short weeks their risk of infection while on the job could significantly decrease.

  • Given the state of the pandemic, they can't be vaccinated soon enough.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.

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.