On Tuesday, doctors on California’s vaccine advisory committee noted that COVID-19 vaccines will not reach the general public until mid-spring.
Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom had announced a large shortfall in the state’s vaccination goal. While there had been a goal for 2 million vaccinated Californians by New Year’s Day, the actual number had turned out to be less than a quarter of that, with only 1.3 million doses actually shipped into California by that time.
While the Governor did vow to scale up the number of vaccinations and allow more medical professionals to administer the vaccine, the shortfall pushed back the dates when the general public could receive them.
“We should have been looking at the second phase right now,” nurse Patricia Taylor-Robbins told the California Globe, who during the interview on Tuesday, had been so exhausted from demanding COVID-19 shifts that she fell asleep twice. “Instead we’re still barely into the first.”
“Healthcare workers like me, plus long-term care residents like those in nursing homes are in Phase 1A,” explained Taylor-Robbins of the plan which would initially vaccinate 3 million people in the state. “Then there is 1B which is for anyone over 75, teachers, food workers, and anyone really being essential to this all. For example, my young kids may need to go to daycare, and childcare workers are covered under that. The next step is 2B, which is 65 and above, all other essential workers not covered in 1B, and all homeless, prisoners, and others at high risk.”
“After that are other phases going down in ages and different risk factors. At the end of it all is for the healthiest people left, so the general public. We were hoping for the end of winter, but that ain’t happening now.”
General public vaccines may not be out until April
According to state officials, the general public may not see vaccines until around Easter.
“I am guessing that the general public will be ready to get vaccinated by early to mid-spring, April,” said California vaccine advisory committee member Dr. Oliver Brooks in a CBS interview on Tuesday. “We expected to have 2 million vaccines by the end of December and another 2 million by the end of this month and a total of 12.5 million by the middle of spring.”
Dr. Brooks explained why this didn’t happen.
“We did not expect to have to roll out a vaccine during a surge where there are no hospital beds and everyone is scrambling. I think the other part is that these hospitals may have a thousand doses and it turns out people are not getting vaccinated.
“We will prioritize based on who you are as an essential worker, and the guiding principles are equity, the exposure that you have, the effect on society, what would we lose and the effect on the economy.”
While there are now rough dates, health workers noted that it’s possible that it may be delayed again
“I wouldn’t set April into stone,” added Taylor-Robbins. “There may be a production issue, or a strain resistant to the vaccine that develops or something. We see the end off in the horizon, but we better make sure that it isn’t a mirage and move the date into the summer or worse.
“My goal this year is to see a Lakers game in person at some point. I hope we can all do that.”
California is expected to drastically increase the number of vaccines heading into the state in the coming days, with Governor Newsom also soon introducing a new budget to allow for $300 million more for his vaccination rollout plan.
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