While the news about the current COVID-19 surge remains grim, and our health care system is struggling to cope, one bright spot lately has been the first rollouts of two new COVID-19 vaccines. As most people are aware by now, vaccinations began in late December, with front-line health care workers receiving the first doses. Since the rollout began, however, we’ve also been hearing a lot of questions about who’s next, and where each of us might fall in the ambitious lineup to be vaccinated.
To make the priorities clearer, we’re passing along the LA County Department of Health’s vaccine distribution schedule, which explains the order in which various groups will be elegible to receive shots. For example, the first phase, already underway, includes three high-priority tiers:
After Phase 1A is complete, there will be rollout phases currently labeled as 1B, 1C and 2. The County is careful to note, however, that these tiers are not yet carved in stone, and are still subject to adjustment before they begin. Currently, however, the Phase 1B, 1C and 2 groups are defined as shown below:
While no specific dates are provided for the various vaccination groups, the County’s website does say that after people in the first few tiers are taken care of, vaccines – which will be free to everyone – are “likely to be available to the general public in Spring/Summer 2021.”
Also, it’s worth noting that while the County says “Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be safe and very effective in large studies that involved a diverse mix of people,” they are not an automatic “get out of jail free” card to ignore the ongoing pandemic. For example, says the website, “it is not yet clear if [the vaccine] stops [vaccinated individuals] from spreading COVID-19 to other people. It is also not yet known how long they will be immune. So everyone must still wear a face covering, physically distance, and not gather” until more is known, and until the transmission rate and number of new cases dip to much, much safer levels.
Finally, the LA County website contains an informative FAQ on the COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as information about vaccine misinformation and scammers.