How California is Going to Distribute its First COVID-19 Vaccines

Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool, File

“This is not a marathon anymore, this is a sprint”

This was California Governor Gavin Newsom’s message Thursday as promising developments in COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to reveal an end to this global pandemic.

Last month, in anticipation of several breakthroughs, the state announced a board of independent reviewers to reaffirm the safety of vaccines slate for national distribution. Newsom said in a press conference Thursday that not only has the review board approved incoming doses from Pfizer but also that they had procured 327,000 vaccine for a mid-December delivery.

The question remains, when will I get vaccinated?

Well, the state has said that their first doses will go to their “Phase 1A group.” Which Newsom further broke down into three tiers of urgency:

Tier 1:

  • Acute care, psychiatric, and correctional facility hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing, assisted living, and eldercare facilities
  • Paramedics, EMTs, and other providing emergency medical services
  • Dialysis centers

Tier 2:

  • Intermediate care facilities
  • Home health care and in-home supportive services
  • Community health workers
  • Public health field staff
  • Primary Care clinics, Federal Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, correctional facility clinics, and urgent care clinics

Tier 3:

  • Specialty clinics
  • Laboratory workers
  • Dental/oral health clinics
  • Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

These facilities and workers have been deemed front of the line in California, though since the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses it cuts the amount we can inoculate from this first batch to 163,500 people.

Pfizer also announced that it would only be able to produce around half the amount of doses as it initially projected. However, Governor Newsom assured that the order was going out tomorrow and that the 327k were accounted for.

The state of California says it expects its first order to arrive around December 15th with subsequent orders coming in January and February as Pfizer ramps up production and other manufacturers enter the fray.

Newsom did not elaborate on who was on the list of 1B recipients but assure that equity, fairness, and necessity took precedent in their decision making. He even went out of his way to assert that powerful and influential people would not get to cut the line.

Whenever it is finally your turn, the state recommends that you continue to practice social distancing and wearing a mask as we still do not fully understand the coronavirus and how it will interact with the vaccine.

While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing masks, washing hands often, and social distancing. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. We need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before we change recommendations on mask use.”

Dr Ghaly reminded everyone, “Today’s message is not about ‘how do we mix safely?’ It’s about how we reduce our mixing all together.”


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