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Need to know: Coronavirus vaccine distribution in California

California will prioritize employees with direct exposure to COVID-19 in the healthcare industry and long-term care facilities
Credit: Pfizer

CALIFORNIA, USA — As early as this week, healthcare workers across California could receive the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine following the FDA's emergency approval of the vaccine.

Moderna's vaccine will undergo the same review next week and is expected to be just as effective as the Pfizer vaccine.

California is expecting to receive 327,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on or before Dec. 15, and 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, if it's approved, could arrive in the coming weeks, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

According to Pamela Yu from UC Davis Health, when asked if they are now expecting the vaccine shipment on Tuesday, Dec. 15, she said "I can confirm for you that it’s now looking like tomorrow [Tuesday], to the best of our knowledge.

Of the 327,000 doses expected this week, 35,145 doses will go to the region, including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Placer, Yolo and seven other counties.

Who will receive vaccines first?

California will prioritize employees with direct exposure to COVID-19 in the healthcare industry and long-term care facilities. Allocations are based upon how many people are in each county, each provider’s storage capacity and other health equity considerations.

The exact allocations have yet to be announced for counties and hospitals has not been confirmed yet. Public health departments will administer vaccines and allocate doses among providers according to the California Department of Public Health.

How will the vaccines be stored?

Both vaccines need to be kept cold before they are distributed, but the Pfizer vaccine needs ultra-cold storage, between negative 70 and negative 80 degrees Celsius.

Currently, California has several ultra-cold freezers in the state including at University of California, Davis. Newsom said California currently has the storage capabilities to distribute the first wave of vaccines.

If approved, the Moderna vaccine will be easier to distribute; it can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to 30 days.

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