California will receive 327,000 doses of the Pfizer-produced COVID-19 vaccine in mid-December.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the vaccine is on its way to the Golden State as COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing.
“That will be California’s portion of the first distribution of vaccines,” Newsom said.
Newsom said he expects the state to release a plan this week regarding vaccine distribution. Health care workers, first responders and other people considered to be critical infrastructure workers will be first in line to receive the vaccine.
“Who are the people we’re prioritizing? It’s one thing to say the health care sector, it’s another to say those that are working in congregate facilities, those working with vulnerable populations,” Newsom said. “But how do you break that down?”
The state has a committee that will determine the distribution breakdown, targeting 2.4 million health care workers in the first phase of distribution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also having its Advisory Committee meet to determine what the recommendations for vaccine distribution should be.
Once California receives the initial doses, storing them will be challenging, Newsom said, because they will need to be stored at very low temperatures. The state has purchased 16 suitable freezers to transport the vaccine, as well as many more smaller freezers to go throughout the state.
Despite the incoming first phase of the vaccine, Newsom shot down hopes for a mass vaccination any time soon, saying that it could happen sometime between March and July 2021.
The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective, according to the pharmaceutical company’s tests, and the company is targeting making 25 million doses available in the US before the end of the year. The vaccine will require two doses per person.
Fresno County COVID-19
While vaccine distribution is on the horizon, Fresno County is dealing with a COVID-19 surge that is not showing signs of letting up any time soon.
The state health department released updated coronavirus metrics for the counties, and Fresno County currently has a 6.4% positivity rate to go along with averaging 14.7 new daily positive cases.
Hospitalization numbers are nearly as bad as they were during the summer surge. Fresno County reported 305 hospitalized COVID-19 patients Monday, just shy of the peak of 313 in July.
The number of patients hospitalized in the ICU is up to 54. The county peaked at 67 in July.