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Which are the Vaccine Phases?


California is allocating COVID-19 vaccines as they become available to ensure equitable distribution. Initially vaccination was limited to healthcare workers and long-term care residents.

The next to be vaccinated will be individuals who:

  • Have higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors)
  • Are unable to work at home
  • Live or work in geographic areas that have been highly impacted
  • Are most likely to spread disease to other workers or to the public

These individuals will be prioritized as follows:

Phase 1A - About 3 million people

  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care residents

Phase 1B

1B Tier One:

  • Individuals 65 and older
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Education and childcare
    • Emergency services
    • ​Food and agriculture

1B Tier Two:

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Transportation and logistics
    • Industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services
    • Critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk:
    • Incarcerated
    • Homeless

Phase 1C

  • Individuals 50 -64 years of age
  • People 16-49 years of age who have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Water and wastewater
    • Defense
    • Energy
    • Chemical and hazardous materials
    • Communications and IT
    • Financial services
    • Government operations / community-based essential functions

Phase 2

  • People 16-64 years of age without high-risk medical conditions




Where can I get my shot?


It’s available in hospitals and long-term care facilities to start. The state plans to open large vaccination sites for people in its top priority groups, with the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles among the first to host large-scale vaccination clinics. California also plans to work with hospitals, pharmacies and mobile clinics to distribute vaccines. The state may also partner with colleges, universities and correctional facilities to ensure younger and incarcerated Californians have an opportunity to get a vaccine.

The federal government announced Jan. 12 that it’s urging states to work with pharmacies and community health centers to distribute the vaccine to those eligible, and to set up mass vaccination clinics, but it’s not clear when California will do so.




Do I have to pay for the vaccination?


AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine. But the CDC says vaccine providers may still charge a fee for giving someone a shot. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has said the vaccine will be administered free of charge to Medicare beneficiaries. Some health insurance companies have announced that policyholders won’t face out-of-pocket costs.




CDPH Allocation Guidelines Recommendations for COVID-19 Vaccine During Phase 1A


Recommendation A: Populations for Phase 1a

During Phase 1a of allocation, COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to the following persons in California:

  • Persons at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in direct health care or long-term care settings. This population includes persons at direct risk of exposure in their non-clinical roles, such as, but not limited to, environmental services, patient transport, or interpretation.

  • Residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar long-term care settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals.

Recommendation B: Subprioritization During Phase 1a

  • During Phase 1a, if there are not enough doses of COVID-19 vaccine for all who choose to receive them, then health departments should subprioritize doses as needed to match the level of available supplies in a sequential fashion using the following ranked categories:

    • Persons exposed though work in health care or long-term care settings, by:

      • Type of facility or role

      • Location of facility

      • Attributes of individuals

  • Health departments may reprioritize temporarily under limited circumstances described in Recommendation C.

Recommendation B1: Subprioritization by type of facility or role

  • If supplies are limited during Phase 1a, COVID-19 vaccines should be directed to as many tiers, and categories in each tier (e.g., hospitals) as possible to reach the prioritized populations.

  • The tiers and categories in each tier are presented in ranked order.

  • Persons immunizing the prioritized populations in a tier should be offered immunization during or before the same tier.

Tier 1

  • Acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals

  • Skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals

  • Also, in concordance with ACIP, residents in these settings

  • Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services

  • Dialysis centers

Tier 2

  • Intermediate care facilities for persons who need non-continuous nursing supervision and supportive care

  • Home health care and in-home supportive services

  • Community health workers, including promotoras

  • 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 health care workers, including:

  • Specialty clinics

  • Laboratory workers

  • Dental and other oral health clinics

  • Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

Recommendation B2: Subprioritization by location of facility
  • When there are inadequate doses to reach all workers in a tier or facility category (e.g., acute care hospitals), doses should be prioritized to facilities serving the greatest proportion of vulnerable persons in their catchment area, as measured by the HPI or comparable health department knowledge, followed by facilities serving fewer vulnerable persons.
Recommendation B3: Subprioritization by attributes of individual health care workers If there are not enough doses to reach all workers at risk in a facility, then:
  • Health departments may allocate doses for facilities—if information is available—to protect workers at higher risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 before those at lower risk.
  • Local facilities should consider offering doses of vaccine to workers using the following risk factors, in sequence:
    • Occupational risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2
    • Descending age, in the following age groups:
      (1) 65 years and older
      (2) 55-64 years
      (3) Younger than 55 years
    • Other attributes supported by evidence, including but not limited to underlying medical conditions, race, and ethnicity
    • To support immunization of these workers, facilities should provide extensive information and counseling.
Recommendation C1. Evolving information about COVID-19 vaccine characteristics Health Departments may adjust prioritization to reflect or comply with available vaccine characteristics. However, prompt measures should be taken to revert to the original prioritization criteria and immunize persons delayed by these restrictions as soon as circumstances permit, such as:
  • Additional formulations become available
  • Changes in authorized indications from FDA or in recommendations from ACIP or CDPH
Recommendation C2. Minimizing disuse of scarce COVID-19 vaccine
To avoid wastage or disuse of scarce supplies and maximize their benefit to Californians:
  • Health departments may allocate doses on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then adjust later allocations based on the number of doses that are accepted.
  • After intensive and appropriate efforts to reach the groups prioritized at that moment, health departments and facilities may offer vaccine promptly to persons in lower priority groups when:
    • Demand subsides in the current groups, or
    • Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions.
  • Health Departments may temporarily adjust prioritization based on other resource constraints while continuing efforts to immunize higher priority groups as soon as feasible.




If I have already had COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?


Yes, you do need the vaccine even if you have had COVID-19. We don’t yet know how long you are protected after you have had COVID-19, so it is important to have the vaccine to strengthen your immunity.




Can I get COVID-19 from a vaccine?


No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States have the virus that causes COVID-19 in them. Sometimes people get a fever or feel tired for a day or so after getting a vaccine. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. If a person got infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after they got a shot, they could still get COVID-19. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.




How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will I need?


Most of the COVID-19 vaccines that are being tested are given in two doses a few weeks apart. It is important to get the same kind of vaccine for both shots.




I am young and out of the risk group. Should I be vaccinated anyway?


The COVID-19 virus can present different symptoms in different people: it may be a cough, stuffed nose, lack of breathing, fever, among other symptoms.

Even if you have mild symptoms, you cannot assume that you are not at risk of contracting the virus. The purpose of vaccinations is to help you stay away from these symptoms.

In addition, if you are sick, you can spread the virus to your family, friends, loved ones and people around you, for several months - says the theses presented by the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Federal University Medical division (UFRJ) - so it is also recommended that you get vaccinated.