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A COVID vaccine is coming, how will it be distributed?

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​​​​Relief is in sight in the form of a vaccine for COVID-19. Two potential coronavirus vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, could be available in December. Two more, from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, are barreling through final hurdles before Food and Drug Administration review.  The federal government’s vaccine accelerator, Operation Warp Speed, has said that 40 million doses of vaccine could be available next month, assuming that regulators greenlight both the Pfizer and Moderna shots. 

How will the vaccine be distributed? According to the CDC,  manufacturers and the federal government will likely distribute doses based on state conditions and population size. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Health and Human Services Secretary said on Tuesday: “California should get a significant and even the highest amount of vaccination based on those distribution plans.”

So when can most people expect to get one? So far, we know that health workers and first responders will go first. On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state would first target 2.4 million health care workers. Health workers will be followed by those living in congregate settings, such as nursing homes, along with other essential workers and people who are at higher risk of falling severely ill, including people 65 and over. Everyone else will likely see the vaccine in late April. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will require two injections for full vaccination so there will be time to monitor those who receive it first. 

If you would like to read more about the vaccine distribution plans by state they can be found here.

In addition Pfizer has created their own page that outlines their distribution protocols.

Prerana Sangani, MD, November 30, 2020