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Friday, December 3, 2021

Yolo County plans to prioritize seniors 65 and older in next vaccine distribution phase

More vaccine doses are needed before the county can put this plan into effect

As of Jan. 19, California’s updated plan to efficiently increase the distribution of vaccines now includes residents aged 65 and older being prioritized in Phase 1B Tier 1, according to a press release from Yolo County.

“Currently, Yolo County is in Phase 1A Tiers 2 and 3 and will likely move into Phase 1B in the coming weeks once additional doses are received from the State of California,” the press release reads, which was published on Jan. 19. Yolo County was expected to run out of vaccines the week of Jan. 25, but they received more just before their supply was used up. 

Yolo County Public Information Officer Jenny Tan explained via email that vaccine distribution efforts are currently slow in Yolo County.

“We are currently getting around 1,000 doses a week,” Tan said. “For seniors 65 and older, there are more than 28,000 residents. As you can imagine, this would take a long time.”

Healthcare systems such as Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente are helping with the distribution of vaccines, but they have also received limited doses, according to Tan. 

However, on Jan. 26, the state of California announced a new method of distributing vaccines.Although vaccine supplies are still low, the new plan’s goal is to distribute vaccines fairly and quickly when more are available. 

“In simplifying eligibility beginning mid-February, the state will implement a statewide standard under which health care workers, individuals 65+ and education and child care, emergency services and food agriculture workers will be eligible to start making appointments to receive the vaccine, pending vaccine availability,” the plan reads.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the quantity of vaccines that are distributed to a county depends on population and how many vaccines the state gets altogether, among other factors. At the moment, the demand for vaccines is higher than the amount available. 

The CDPH released recommendations for distributing the vaccine, which include the process of prioritization and ways to reach those who are in the highest-priority groups. Once the vaccines have been distributed to them or when doses are nearing expiration, they may be provided to lower-priority groups.

Counties should distribute vaccines to those eligible as quickly as possible in order to vaccinate the greatest number of people possible and to minimize waste, according to the CDPH. 

UC Davis Health has also been distributing vaccines, which has greatly reduced worker positivity rates, said UC Davis Health Senior Public Information Officer Charles Casey via email.

“Vaccination efforts have been going well,” Casey said. “The vaccine is already yielding good results. Since vaccinations began a month ago among our workers, the number of employees diagnosed with COVID-19 is down roughly 80%.”

Similarly to Yolo County, UC Davis Health awaits more doses to vaccinate those who are currently eligible. 

“We continue to vaccinate our patients and healthcare workers who qualify as we wait for more supply to cover the demand,” Casey said. “UC Davis Health is at the forefront of fighting COVID-19 through patient care and research to find COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.”

Once more doses have been distributed to Yolo County and providers, vaccines can be administered to those in higher-priority tiers and eventually those in lower-priority groups.

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org


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