The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Friday granted a late-night Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-developed Covid-19 vaccine. By Monday afternoon, California was administering first doses of the vaccine to a limited number of frontline health care workers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday in a video posted on Twitter that the state will receive another 393,000 doses early next week. The first shipments received Monday were spread out among four locations: Los Angeles, San Diego, Eureka and San Francisco.
Another 24 California locations will receive vaccine doses Tuesday with another five locations following on Wednesday, Newsom said.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Monday that the first doses will be administered in The City Tuesday morning.
The vaccine can’t come soon enough — the virus has now claimed more than 21,100 lives in California and more than 301,000 nationwide, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center as of Tuesday morning. The state recorded about 33,000 new Covid-19 cases Monday.
Despite excitement surrounding the vaccine, questions remain surrounding how long the immunization lasts and whether those vaccinated can still transmit the virus. It is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people continue to wear masks and distance from others until the vaccine is more widely distributed.
The vaccines will be first administered to frontline health care workers and seniors at long-term care facilities. Priority will then be given to other people front lines, with some recent discussion of vaccinating teachers quickly as a way to enable safer in-person learning. The timeline for general population is looking like late spring according to current inventory and distribution plans.
The U.S. passed on an opportunity to purchase more than 100 million Pfizer doses and as a result, several other countries swept up the supply. However, the Moderna formula is expected to be approved as early as this week and the U.S. locked in a deal Friday for an additional 100 million doses, adding to the 100 million already agreed to.