San Mateo County’s first COVID-19 vaccine shipment could happen next week

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With the expectation that the FDA will authorize emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine this week, San Mateo County could receive its first shipment of just under 6,000 vaccine doses next week, according to Dr. Anand Chabra, program director at San Mateo County Health.

The relatively small shipment will be followed toward the end of December with a larger shipment, likely six or seven times the amount of doses from the initial delivery, and will likely include vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna, assuming both are approved for emergency use by the FDA, Dr. Chabra told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“Given that there are at least two other vaccines, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, that are expected around January or February, I think we could see pretty widespread vaccination the middle of next year, mid-2021,” Dr. Chabra said.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses per person. Higher risk groups prioritized to receive vaccines include healthcare workers, residents of longterm care facilities, first responders and essential workers. A CDC program aims to send staff from Walgreens and CVS to congregate care facilities to administer the vaccine doses.

The County has also developed a framework to ensure that vaccines are allocated equitably so that traditionally underserved communities have access.

San Mateo County remains in the purple tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, having decided against joining five other Bay Area counties in imposing the state’s more restrictive stay-home order earlier than required. The state requires regions where ICU capacity dips below 15 percent to impose the stay-home order, which prohibits gatherings of any kind, halts both indoor and outdoor dining, reduces retail capacity to 20 percent (35-percent for supermarkets) and closes businesses such as hair salons. As of Friday, the Bay Area region was at 25.3 percent ICU capacity. At the time, given infection trends, the public health officials anticipated the region would dip below 15 percent later this month.

Photo credit: CDC

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