The State of COVID-19 Vaccines in California


Photo Courtesy of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Chloe Elie

The COVID-19 vaccine, its distribution within California and throughout all of America is a fundamental factor towards the full recovery and eventual herd immunity from the COVID-19 pandemic. Scientists and hardworking health experts have done their research and work to find that the vaccine is the key to recovery. 

There are currently three pharmaceutical companies that are behind the distribution of vaccines- Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson. Moderna plans to deliver 100 million doses by the end of March, whereas Pfizer plans on 120 million cumulative doses and Johnson & Johnson plans on 20 million. Moderna plans to deliver another hundred million by the end of both May and July. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, being the least distributed of the three, is designed to be given as a single dose. No worries about having to go back for a second shot and no requirement to wait a certain amount of time between two doses. In total, the companies are pushing to deliver enough vaccines in order to get 400 million people vaccinated. 

As of March 9, there have been 10,512,860 doses administered in California. Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California. This means 18.6% of all Californians have received a dose. Over the last 7 days, an average of 203,566 doses per day have been administered. However, experts say it is important for 85% of Americans will need to be vaccinated in order to completely get the pandemic under control. 

California began distributing the vaccines in stages, beginning with Phase 1A which covers health care workers and both workers and residents from skilled nursing facilities and other long-time homes. It then entered Phase 1B which includes people 65 and older, education workers, emergency service workers, and workers in both farms and grocery stores. 

The Department of Public Health announced that the next group of people eligible to receive the vaccine consists of people ages 16 to 64 with disabilities or underlying health conditions including cancer, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or above), down syndrome, chronic pulmonary disease, and more.

As the vaccine plan in California is currently evolving, the next group of people following people with disabilities or underlying conditions will not be a specific group of people. Instead, it will be moved to an age-based priority system. Governor Gavin Newsom and The Department of Public Health are yet to release more information so this is our knowledge on the current progress.