The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines being developed is now shaping up to be the largest and most complex public health effort in Los Angeles County history, and concerns are growing that officials are already falling behind. according to information released this Friday.
Scientists have designed the vaccine. Now, government bureaucrats must figure out how to quickly and fairly distribute the life-saving COVID-19 drug. For Los Angeles County, this effort has already included the acquisition of 16 ultra-cold storage freezers to be installed throughout the region, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday morning. Freezers can store tens of thousands of doses at temperatures as low as minus 86 degrees Celsius.
But the bigger question is where the vaccine will go from there.
The county has already grappled with another essential element of the pandemic response – providing large-scale coronavirus testing and distributing the vaccine safely and fairly is an even more vital task. Some officials have already raised concerns, The Times reported.
County Supervisor Janice Hahn recently called the county’s preliminary plans “too vague.” She said they didn’t address key logistical issues, such as how the county would store the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at minus 70 C. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl wondered how logistically the county would keep the vaccine doses cool enough. to transport them.
And Supervisor Hilda Solís wanted to see more explanations on how the county would equitably distribute the vaccine and ensure that communities of color have broad access.
“I’m just going to implore you … to be really prepared,” Hahn told Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer at a recent board meeting. “I just don’t think we can afford a delay in knowing how we are going to distribute this vaccine.”
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“We will be ready,” Ferrer said, according to The Times. “I promise”.
For now, the county is formulating a priority list for vaccinations, which will be free to any resident who gets vaccinated. First in line will be healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Essential workers at high risk for coronavirus would be among the next most likely candidates, based on preliminary guidance from state and federal officials, according to The Times.
Nursing home residents and employees will likely also be a priority population in the early stages of the vaccine launch. People with serious medical conditions, including cancer, chronic kidney disease, severe lung disease, and sickle cell anemia, and residents 65 and older are also included in the county’s draft plan as key populations to vaccinate.
For others, the wait could take months, according to The Times.
Advances in its production predict a prompt distribution.
Los Angeles County Medical Director Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser said a 35-year-old man with no health risks who is not an essential worker will likely not be able to receive a vaccine until at least the spring of next year.
“I could be wrong, maybe there are more vaccines available, and it is very possible that people don’t want to get vaccinated, so we could expand it to other groups if we have more supply,” Gunzenhauser said. .
“There are a lot of unknowns, so this is really a guess.”
Eventually, the vaccine will be widely available to any resident, but county officials are still trying to find a way to make it more accessible.
Hahn would like the county to use schools as distribution sites, an idea supported by Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner, The Times reported. Solís has asked public health officials to explore the use of libraries, senior centers and clinics in underserved communities. The county has also considered expanding current COVID-19 testing sites to offer vaccination as well.
More and more laboratories and pharmaceutical companies are close to starting to distribute the long-awaited coronavirus vaccine, but many wonder what they do in our bodies.
Some of the first doses of the vaccine are expected to be stored at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, The Times reported. The hospital was one of the few health centers designated by the state to receive early vaccine shipments due to its cold storage capacity, the county’s public health department said. About 20 Los Angeles County hospitals applied, Gunzenhauser said.
It’s not yet clear how much vaccine California or Los Angeles County will get.
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