Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday tweeted that California will receive 327,000 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in December, bringing some cheer after his announcement earlier in the day that he might have to again impose stay at home orders because of a surge in coronavirus cases.
“Transparency, equity, and safety will continue to be our top priorities as we begin the distribution process for Phase 1,” he wrote.
It has been speculated that the Pfizer vaccine would be coming first. Pfizer has applied for emergency use authorization of its vaccine on November 20.
Moderna has said it would soon be submitting for emergency use authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine.
Both pharmaceutical companies have said their vaccine is over 94 percent effective.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence too said during a governors’ meeting that the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine could begin by the third week of December.
According to news agency Bloomberg, Pence told governors: “We strongly believe the
vaccine distribution process could begin the week of December 14.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s advisory committee for immunization practices will vote on Tuesday on who should get priority once the vaccines are approved, according to CNN.
The vaccines should first be given to frontline healthcare workers and nurses, said Dr Jasbir S Kang, medical director, Yuba Sutter Hospitalist Group, California.
“It is like the flu shot, but taken 20 days apart,” Kang told indica News.
He said he knew some people who participated in the vaccine trials, and a few of them experienced a little pain for a day or two after taking the vaccine.
Sounding hopeful of both Pfizer and Moderna, Kang said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has to look at all the data and the companies have to submit clinical trial and safety issues details.
“So far, the data look good; I am hopeful both will get approved,” Kang said.
“The trials were done on 30,000 people, so that’s a fairly good sample, but sometimes these drugs when you use on masses you will see more side effects which had not been noticed earlier,” he said.
“So, there would be some side effects but in the US we have a good system to protect the consumers,” he said.
Asked if whether the vaccine has been tested on a diverse set of people or not should be a concern, he said: “I don’t know personally… I know people who work with me they are doing fine after taking the shots. I don’t think diversity should be a major issue.”
According to the CDC, California has 1,212,968 confirmed Covid-19 cases till November 30 and there have been 19,141 deaths.
Governor Newsom has warned that if the rising trend continues he is going to take much more dramatic action in terms of curbs.
In Los Angeles County, starting November 30, stay-at-home orders went into effect prohibiting people from going out in groups. Neither indoor nor outdoor dining is allowed at restaurants.
Dr Kang said though the date of distribution of vaccines has not been announced, hospitals have submitted applications.
“We are part Adventist Health organization and have already have requested the vaccines,” he said.
“I think there will be public health distribution and I think people can also buy it privately. It all depends on supply and demand. The government has promised it would be free but what it would cost if one buys privately that we have to wait and see,” he said
Explaining further, he said each hospital in California has its own regulations.
“Once the vaccine is approved, we will have it for everybody by summer,” he said.
He said the rising coronavirus numbers were a grim reality at present.
“We have more Covid-19 patients right now than earlier and we have been very much impacted… but if nurses and doctors start getting sick then it’s a problem,” he said.
“I have total faith in our colleagues who are in research and working on how to get over this but this will not completely go away even with a vaccine, though it will reduce the spread,” Kang said.
“Masks are still important. We have to still follow the precautions,” he warned.