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COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Assumptions


This page gives on overview of assumptions regarding the phases of vaccine allotment, product storage requirements and dosage, current information about ordering and distribution, and supply kits that will be furnished to administer COVID-19 vaccine for sites to prepare and participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

COVID-19 Vaccine Planning Assumptions

  • It is not known which of the vaccines will be available or how quickly vaccine supply will be scaled up to meet demand after the initial allocation.
  • CDC expects there will be limited vaccine supply in the initial phase.
  • Vaccine will be distributed in a phased approach.
  • States should anticipate that allocations may shift during the response based on supply, demand, and risk.

Phase Approach to COVID-19 Vaccination

  • Phase 1: Potentially limited doses available
  • Phase 2: Large number of doses available
  • Phase 3: Sufficient supply of doses available
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), with input from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), is considering recommendations for who should receive early doses of COVID-19 vaccine when supply may be limited.
  • As more vaccine quickly becomes available, the goal is to provide easy access to vaccination for everyone who wants to be vaccinated. More information will be shared as soon as it is available.

COVID-19 Vaccine Product(s) Overview

  • Initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine may be under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the FDA.
  • Cold Chain requirements will vary from refrigerated (2 C to 8 C) to frozen (-20 C) to ultra-cold (-60 C to -80 C). Stability testing is ongoing that may impact requirements.
    • The CDC currently is not recommending purchase of ultra-cold storage.
  • Some products may require 2-doses, separated by 21 or 28 days.
  • Products will not be interchangeable; both doses must be with the same product.
  • Some products may require reconstitution with diluent or adjuvant.

Ordering and Distribution

  • Vaccine shipment amounts will vary based on the vaccine.
  • The minimum order size and increment for centrally distributed vaccines will be 100 doses per order, though early in the response, some may be shipped in larger quantities. 
  • CDC will use its current centralized distribution contract to fulfill orders for most COVID-19 vaccine products as approved by jurisdiction immunization programs.
  • Ancillary supplies will be packaged in kits and will be automatically ordered in amounts to match vaccine orders. 

Supply Kits to administer 100 doses of vaccine, include:

  • 105 needles (various sizes for the population served by the ordering vaccination provider)
  • 105 syringes
  • 210 alcohol prep pads,
  • four surgical masks and two face shields for vaccinators
  • 100 COVID-19 vaccination record cards for vaccine recipients
  • For COVID-19 vaccines that require reconstitution with diluent or mixing with adjuvant at the point of administration, mixing kits with syringes, needles, and other needed supplies will also be included