By Sebastian Squire
With the simultaneous development of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines, the pandemic’s end is now in sight. Operation Warp Speed, a government initiative to test and mass produce vaccines, has come to fruition, with vaccines already being distributed among health care workers and government officials. Although vaccines are now being given to a select few, there still awaits a long process to reach herd immunity.
The Contra Costa County plan for vaccine distribution distributes vaccines in several phases, mirroring CDC and state guidelines. The first phase (phase 1A) is for “Persons at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in direct health care or long-term care settings,” per the California Department of Public Health. The CDC’s plan for vaccine roll out assigns the next group (1B) as first responders, included but not limited to “Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters,” and “teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.” A statement provided to The Page from Kaiser Permanente explained the “expansion of vaccination to prioritized groups of patients in the general public will occur as vaccine supply increases and federal and state guidelines are issued.”
According to a January 11 press release from Contra Costa Health Services, vaccine administration has fallen behind as county health officials establish the infrastructure necessary for an ambitious vaccination campaign. In order to meet the number of people necessary to achieve herd immunity, over the “next six months (104 business days), roughly 7,000 people will need to be vaccinated every business day.” In December, this number was only 1200 per day. To catch up, the county has reassigned all personnel possible to the effort. One such person is Dana Ewing, who usually works with homeless people: “I will soon be helping with logistics and distribution of the vaccine in an effort to roll out administration faster.”
Ewing obtained the vaccine early due to her ongoing work on the county vaccine effort. She described the vaccination experience as “an easy process,” due to a county database and there being vaccination “locations all over the county.” Ewing also explained that aside from a little arm pain, she experienced, “No tiredness or flu-like symptoms.” Summing everything up, Ewing said, “I am grateful to the teenagers across the world, and particularly at Las Lomas, who have made sacrifices [limiting social engagement, missing out on parties and friends] and I do acknowledge the toll it has taken on many.”