• COVID-19 Vaccine

    Updated January 27, 2021

    The AAFP is monitoring development, approval and distribution.

    To date, no COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been approved (licensed) by the FDA. The FDA issued emergency use authorizations, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended two mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The AAFP reviewed and approved these interim recommendations. As ACIP releases other vaccine recommendations, the AAFP will review and determine approval for each vaccine. The AAFP was updated in real time as these meetings and decisions occurred, and will stay engaged for subsequent vaccines. 

    View the CDC's Interim Clinical Considerations for information on the different vaccines, including clinical considerations, preparation and storage. 

    Distribution Plans and Issues

    The CDC and other federal agencies are working to distribute vaccine doses to states and jurisdictions. At this time, limited vaccine quantities are available, so priority is being given for certain populations, such as frontline health care workers and those at greatest risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. 

    The ACIP issued recommendations to guide prioritization for initial allocations of the vaccine, as supply is limited. Healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities were prioritized for phase 1a of vaccine distribution. Phase 1b includes persons aged 75 and older and frontline essential workers. Phase 1c includes individuals aged 65-74, persons aged 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers not captured in phase 1b.

    Interested in how we're advocating on vaccine distribution issues? The AAFP is working to ensure that family physicians are prioritized in federal and state vaccine strategies. Learn more about these efforts on our Vaccines and Immunizations Advocacy Hub

    FDA Approval Process

    The FDA released guidance for manufacturers to request approval for EUA of a COVID-19 vaccine. The standards for EUA for the vaccine will be stricter than those for other products and vaccine candidates must meet prespecified efficacy and safety data with at least two months of follow up. Additionally, under an EUA, the FDA will continue to collect safety and efficacy data as the vaccine is made available to the public. All data will be reviewed by experts in vaccinology and the CDC’s Advisory Committee in Immunization Practices. 

    Find a list of other vaccine candidates and phase of development in a World Health Organization report.

    AAFP member, Jennifer Middleton, MD, MPH, also wrote a blog on what's ahead with additional vaccines in "Here come the COVID vaccines"

    Coding and Payment

    The American Medical Association published the first set of COVID-19 vaccine and administration codes. Their unique structure allows for tracking and accommodating multiple COVID-19 vaccines.  

    CDC's COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

    Check out information on the CDC's COVID-19 site, including:


    Expect updates to this site, plus CDC’s Vaccination and Immunization site, as more information is available. It's critical that jurisdictions and federal entities receiving vaccine have information to implement an effective COVID-19 vaccination program.