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Sharp Health News

When will I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Jan. 12, 2021

Vial of COVID-19 vaccine in a medical research lab
For months, we have been anxiously awaiting news of the creation and distribution of a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19 - the disease that has killed more than 360,000 Americans since 2020 and continues to cause ICU departments across the country to be overwhelmed.

Finally, in late December, the good news arrived: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization to the manufacturers of two COVID-19 vaccines. However, the not-so-good news that followed is that the vaccines are currently in limited supply in the U.S. This leaves several people asking, "When will I receive my COVID-19 vaccine?"

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses should be managed at the state level with three goals in mind:
  • Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible
  • Preserve functioning of society
  • Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities
California's plan to distribute the vaccine
The State of California announced that vaccines will first be provided to health care workers and residents in long-term care facilities. These are the individuals identified in phase 1A of the state's COVID-19 vaccine plan. People 65 and older have recently been moved into the next phase of the state's plan, which now prioritizes the recipients of vaccines as follows:

Phase 1A - Currently being vaccinated
  • Health care workers, including family members caring for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Long-term care residents
Phase 1B - Vaccinating next
Tier 1
  • People 65 and older - Limited availability in San Diego County
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in education, child care, emergency services, and food and agriculture
Tier 2
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in transportation and logistics; critical manufacturing; and industrial, commercial, residential and sheltering facilities and services
  • Residents of congregate settings with outbreak risk, such as prisons and sheltering facilities
Phase 1C
  • People age 50 to 64
  • People age 16 to 64 with an underlying health condition or disability
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations and community-based essential functions
All people who are not included in phase 1A of the vaccine plan will be notified by their health care provider when they are eligible for vaccination and as doses become available in each county. San Diego County has not yet been allocated a sufficient number of vaccine doses for those in the next phase, including people 65 and over, but officials expect some doses will be accessible in the region later this month. 

Increased production of the currently available vaccines, as well as the potential for additional vaccines to receive FDA emergency use authorization in the near future, may mean that more vaccine doses will become available and more people can be vaccinated sooner than expected. San Diegans are encouraged to check the San Diego County's COVID-19 vaccine information page to learn of vaccine updates and county vaccine distribution sites.

What to do until you are vaccinated
Until you and the majority of Americans are vaccinated, the CDC encourages everyone to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19:
  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others who don't live with you
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Stay home if you are sick
It is also advised that you be on the lookout for potential vaccine-related scams. The vaccine will be cost-free, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that several schemes and fraudulent requests for money in exchange for access to vaccines have emerged.

To avoid being scammed:
  • Never pay for early access to the vaccine or to be added to a vaccine waiting list
  • Never pay out of pocket for the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Never share your personal or health information with anyone other than your known and trusted medical professionals
  • Always consult with your primary care provider before receiving any vaccination

This story was updated January 15, 2021, to reflect the most accurate COVID-19 vaccine information.

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