Home Contra Costa County Vaccine Supply Shortages Prompt Public Health Leaders Throughout the Bay Area to Urge Prioritization of Older Adults for Vaccination

Vaccine Supply Shortages Prompt Public Health Leaders Throughout the Bay Area to Urge Prioritization of Older Adults for Vaccination

by ECT
Contra Costa Health Services

Bay Area, CA – For the time being, the scarcity of COVID-19 vaccination doses throughout the San Francisco Bay Area has led health officials in eight jurisdictions to urge all health systems to prioritize shots for patients aged 65 and older because of the virus’ high mortality rate within that group.

County health departments and collaborating health care partners are coordinating efforts to streamline vaccine distribution and administration, moving as quickly as possible to provide shots to the most vulnerable residents. Marin, Napa, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties are prioritizing residents age 75 and older. Similarly, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties are prioritizing people age 65 and older. This is in addition to continuing vaccine Phase 1A-eligible health care workers, many of whom are now expecting their second doses.

Across the region, most COVID-19 deaths have been in the 65-and-up age group (see table below). In Contra Costa, 82% of COVID-19 deaths have been in the 65-and-up age group. Thus, focusing vaccination efforts on those at greatest risk of death will have the biggest immediate impact on saving lives.

“While we are still in the midst of a severe winter COVID surge, one of our best ways to prevent further deaths is to vaccinate those at greatest risk of dying from COVID, our senior citizens,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County.

The Bay Area continues to receive only a small fraction of the vaccines needed to vaccinate residents aged 65 and older, much less the broader occupation-based groups the state has included in Phase 1B Tier 1, including educators, food and agricultural workers, and emergency services personnel. Across the Bay Area, weekly dose allocations from the State of California – based on a formula designed to ensure fair distribution statewide – have slowed compared to shipments in December and early January. With the current pace of supply, it will take several weeks to offer a first dose to all older adults who would like to be vaccinated.

Limited vaccine supply is resulting in a widespread inability to make new appointments, and in some cases, can lead to cancellations of existing appointments. In addition, administering Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine requires a parallel effort to provide a second dose a few weeks after the first. The need for second doses limits the number of people who can be newly vaccinated each week.

Some counties have had to consider extending vaccine availability by following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated  COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow for second dose administration up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if the second dose cannot be scheduled in the recommended timeframe. The CDC states that the data from clinical trials supports this range. “Modest delays in the administration of the second dose, if absolutely necessary, would not be expected to decrease the protection conferred by the second dose,” the FDA said in a statement.

Contra Costa residents can learn the latest information about vaccine distribution and prepare for when it’s their turn for a shot by visiting our website.

Information released by Contra Costa Health Services

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4 comments

Makesnosense Feb 3, 2021 - 9:30 pm

It makes no sense to vaccine people who are on the way out. I think senior citizens should isolate and be last in line. Its not like senior citizens are out partying-bar hopping.

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Robert C. Feb 4, 2021 - 6:05 am

Makesnosense, you’re not very good at trolling.

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Larry P Feb 4, 2021 - 6:11 am

Lmao, there sure are some stupid people in east county. I’m sure those “partying-bar hopping” sure need their vaccines first over the most susceptible in the population for this particular virus. Hopefully the next virus will affect the selfish young fools first, like the 1918 Spanish flu did. But of course if you’re out “partying-bar hopping” you probably didn’t pay too much attention in history class.

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Meetmeatcrestviewbro Feb 5, 2021 - 6:30 am

Damn makesnosense when did we return to the aztec way of human sacrifice. My 69 year old parents arent close to being on their way out, in fact my beast of a mom hit 49 pushups yesterday doing her crazy hard exercise tapes. The role my parents play in helping raise my kids and helping keeping them connected with the older ways and generations is priceless. Ill be at crestview park in pittsburg from 3 to 4 pm today maybe u want to come discuss this in person. Ill be wearing blue workout gear training muay thai with a giant of a man.

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