California Vaccine Distribution Plans

COVID-19 Update

California is preparing for its first wave of vaccine distribution. The state is expected to receive 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine over the next few days and 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine later this month. The California Department of Public Health released its vaccine allocation prioritization for the first round of immunizations, called Phase 1a, which will focus on workers in direct healthcare and long-term care settings and residents of skilled nursing, assisted living and similar long-term care facilities.  

As supplies of the vaccine will be received on a rolling basis, Phase 1a immunizations will occur in the following sequence of tiers while supplies are limited:

Tier 1

  • Workers in acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals
  • Workers in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar congregate settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals
  • Residents in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar congregate settings in accordance with Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations
  • Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services
  • Dialysis centers

Tier 2

  • Intermediate care facilities for people who need noncontinuous nursing supervision and supportive care
  • Home healthcare and in-home supportive services
  • Community health workers, including promotoras de salud
  • Public health field staff
  • Primary care clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, correctional facility clinics and urgent care clinics

Tier 3

Other settings and healthcare workers, including:

  • Specialty clinics
  • Laboratory workers
  • Dental and other oral health clinics
  • Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

Governor Newsom has also appointed three different working groups to help guide the state in its review and distribution of the vaccines. 

The Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing guidance on the prioritization and allocation of the vaccines when supplies are limited. The Community Vaccine Advisory Committee includes representation from diverse community organizations in order to provide insight on the distribution of the vaccines. The Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, comprised of renowned scientists with specific expertise in immunization and public health, is tasked with independently reviewing the safety and efficacy of the vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Washington, Oregon and Nevada have joined this planned review. According to Dr. Arthur Reingold, chair of this working group, they plan to perform a close review of FDA summaries of the information presented by the companies and the FDA and CDC advisory committee proceedings. They are working to ensure this review does not delay administration of the vaccines.

The first 327,000 doses will be allocated among six regions in the state as follows:

  • Region 1 (126,750 doses): Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura
  • Region 2 (80,497 doses): Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma
  • Region 3 (8,592 doses): Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Santa Cruz, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yuba
  • Region 4 (35,145 doses): Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo
  • Region 5 (16,706 doses): Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced
  • Region 6 (59,910 doses): Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Riverside, San Bernardino

Stay tuned for further guidance from Manatt’s Employment and Labor group next week on best practices for workplace issues related to vaccine rollouts.



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