SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – California is expected to get its first round of COVID-19 vaccine shots by mid-December, with the initial doses going to health care workers who come in contact with COVID-19 patients.
Another group who will get vaccine priority are those living and working in nursing homes, a common source of outbreaks.
“We’re very close to a vaccine coming that is going to make this problem go away to a large extent. We just have to make it through these next several weeks,” said Sacramento County Health Director Dr. Peter Beilenson.
Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that by mid-December California could have as many as 327,000 doses to distribute.
Dr. Beilenson said the rollout will happen in stages, with hospital workers at the highest risk of infection first in line to be vaccinated.
“The phases, medical people will be getting the vaccine in December and January — this is approximate time — people in nursing homes and nursing home staff in January. Underlying conditions and other older people … will be March, April, May. And then everybody will be June, July, August,” Dr. Beilenson told FOX40.
Dr. Beilenson said the vaccine couldn’t come at a better time, with COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations on the rise.
Although the distribution timeline largely depends on availability, he’s hopeful there will be widespread access by mid-2021.
“It’s looking more and more like by the summertime, everyone will have access to really, really good vaccines, which should bring us back to a state of normalcy,” explained Dr. Beilenson.
As Californians push through a dark December, Dr. Beilenson said the storm will pass.
“The vaccine is a real positive thing though. It gives people a sense of hope in this pandemic fatigue that it’s going to be over. We really just have to make it through the New Year’s time,” Dr. Beilenson said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has given California $28 million to roll out the vaccine, $10 million of which has already been spent on planning.
Governor Newsom said more money is needed to ensure distribution goes smoothly.