State revises guidance for administering COVID vaccines

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The American Hospital Association estimates that the nation would need to vaccinate 1.8 million people a day, every day, from Jan. 1 to May 31, to reach the goal of having widespread immunity by the summer. That’s also called “herd immunity” and would involve vaccinating at least 75% of the population.

With the process of administering COVID-19 vaccines moving slower than hoped, state officials issued revised guidelines to local health departments Thursday, authorizing them to give shots to lower- priority groups if demand wanes among people in higher-priority categories, or if doses are about to expire.

Distribution of vaccines is following a set of priority “phases” and “tiers” outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local officials, with health care workers at the top of the priority list in what is known as Phase  1A. There are three “tiers” within that phase, covering various categories of medical workers and frontline responders.

Los Angeles County, for example, is in the midst of the second tier of Phase 1A.

The revised guidance from the California Department of Public Health was issued in hopes of “accelerating the pace of COVID-19 administration.” Gov. Gavin Newsom noted earlier this week that only about one-third of the vaccine doses received by the state had actually been administered.

The guidance clears health departments to immediately expand the distribution of the vaccine to people in all three tiers of the initial phase. The move immediately makes the vaccine available to health care workers in areas such as optometry clinics, dental facilities, occupational health, pharmacies, school health centers and specialty clinics.

Health departments were also advised to factor into their vaccination efforts the likelihood that some people in the higher-priority groups will decline the receive the shots. Once agencies have completed efforts to offer the vaccine to everyone in Phase 1A, they can then move to Phase 1B.

Horizon Clinical Research Director, Dr. Mona Hacker, joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination effort.

UC San Diego Health, San Diego County and the Padres are teaming up to vaccinate at least 5,000 healthcare workers per day against the novel coronavirus, starting Monday.

Those partners, along with the City of San Diego, will run the “Vaccination Super Station” near Petco Park in an effort to safely vaccinate the 500,000 healthcare workers in the region eligible for Phase 1A-Tier categories on California’s vaccine priority list.

President-elect Joe Biden will be taking a new direction to speed release of coronavirus vaccines when he assumes office Jan. 20. His office said Friday Biden would curtail the current practice of holding back vaccine doses to guarantee that people who get their first shot can also get a required second inoculation three weeks later.

Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News