The California Public Health Department is recommending county health departments accelerate the COVIID-19 vaccination process and has given them approval to vaccinate people outside the current tier assignments.
The recommendations state that after appropriate efforts to reach highest priority groups, health departments and providers may offer doses to lower priority groups when high-priority demand subsides, or when doses are about to expire.
To maximize vaccine administration and reduce the potential for waste, local health departments and providers should immediately administer COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in all tiers of Phase 1a. In addition to frontline health care workers, this includes a wide range of people in health care settings such as community health care workers, public health field staff, primary care clinics, specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental clinics and pharmacy staff.
Local health departments and providers should make special efforts to administer vaccine to vaccinators and consider partnering with others to provide vaccinations for individuals in prioritized tiers. They may also allocate doses on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then continue to offer vaccinations in progressive priority tiers. For example, if a county has maximized use of the vaccine to administer individuals in Phase 1a, they should move to Tier 1 of Phase 1b while continuing to offer vaccines to those in higher priority groups.
As of Friday, more than 2 million vaccine doses have been shipped to various health departments and hospitals in California.
The Stanislaus County Health Services Agency is currently in the second tier of Phase 1. The vaccination of individuals in Tier 2 began Tuesday and includes workers at intermediate care facilities, home healthcare workers, public health staff and veterans.
The expectation is that this tier will be completed by late February. The third tier in the phase is slated to start this month and includes workers at specialty clinics, laboratories, dental clinics, pharmacies and mortuaries.
As of Friday, Stanislaus County has recorded 37,951 COVID-19 cases and 665 deaths.