The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in a series of phases and tiers as recommended by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
On December 5, 2020, the State of California Health and Human Services Agency released the phases as well as tier recommendations and stated, “To avoid wastage or disuse of scarce supplies and maximize their benefit to Californians, health departments may allocate doses on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then adjust later allocations based on the number of doses that are accepted.
After intensive and appropriate efforts to reach the groups prioritized at that moment, health departments and facilities may offer vaccine promptly to persons in lower priority groups when demand subsides in the current groups, or doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions. Health departments may temporarily adjust prioritization based on other resource constraints while continuing efforts to immunize higher priority groups as soon as feasible.”
Amador County Public Health (ACPH) has released a chart on vaccine distribution within the county. Currently in phase 1A, which is projected through late February, hospital staff, medical first responders, long-term care staff and residents, and then all other health care providers will be given the option to be among the first to receive the vaccine. According to the chart, phase 1B is expected to begin in early February. On December 18, 2020, health care workers at Sutter Amador Hospital were among the first to roll up their sleeves for the first COVID-19 shots available in Amador County.
In a press release issued on Tuesday, December 29th, Amador Public Health stated, “Amador County has received Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The initial supply is very limited. The vaccine is to be administered in phases according to risk. Sutter Amador Hospital and Amador County Public Health have started vaccinations for front-line health care workers and Phase 1 priority populations following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) vaccine plan. Visit California’s Vaccinate All 58 website for more details. As more vaccine becomes available, additional priority groups will be notified and offered the vaccine as Amador moves through the phases and tiers of the allocation guidelines.”
California received 327,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the first state shipment in mid-December and shortly after announced it was expected to receive an additional 393,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, plus 627,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. These initial doses were provided to healthcare workers and long-term care residents in accordance with the Allocation Framework for Phase IA and distributed by regions. Both Amador and Calaveras Counties are in Region IV (four) along with Alpine, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne and Yolo Counties. In the first round of distributions, region four was set to receive at total of 35,145 vaccines. As of January 3, 2021, Tulare County had moved to Region V (five) and the 11 counties now listed in Region IV had administered 23,685 vaccines, of the two vaccines currently available.
In the latest update provided by the CDPH, the week of December 28th, Amador had been allocated 935 vaccines and Calaveras County 1,015. The 11 counties now listed in Region IV has an estimated combined population of 3,841,152 residents. Officials say the first phase is likely to take months, particularly in highly populated communities that are the hub of health care industries. People are administered doses based on the county they work in, not the county they live in. Health departments are now faced with the daunting task of developing a vaccine distribution strategy that includes cold storage capacity while juggling testing, contact tracing, administering vaccines, and keeping the public informed during the latest surge in cases.
Two doses are needed per person for either vaccine. Based on the vaccine an individual receives, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine administered 21 days apart and two doses for the Moderna vaccine administered 28 days apart, are needed. CDPH recommends those who have had COVID-19 to take the vaccine as it is not known at this time how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering.
CDPH states, "How much protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions is still unknown. It is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like staying home and isolating from others when sick, 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.
There is no mandatory vaccination requirement from either the state or federal government. While vaccine doses will be limited in supply at first, we hope that by educating Californians about the safety and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine, we can encourage voluntary adoption of the vaccine."
CDPH COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidelines: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/CDPH-Allocation-Guidelines-for-COVID-19-Vaccine-During-Phase-1A-Recommendations.aspx
Vaccinate All 58: https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#COVID-19-vaccines-are-here
COVID-19 Vaccine Regional Distribution: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-19-Vaccine-Regional-Distribution-First-Shipment.aspx
How to Protect Yourself & Others: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
ACPH Website with additional COVID-19 information: https://www.amadorgov.org/services/covid-19