Vaccines are here. Now what?
December 18, 2020 — The covid-19 vaccine is here, but leading medical experts urge continuing safety measures, like mask-wearing and staying home for the holidays.
The list of who can be vaccinated in phase 1b, the next round of shots, is still being developed, but Lori Nezhura, co-chair of the vaccine task force at the California Office of Emergency Services, says food and ag workers, emergency workers, and people in the field of education are likely to be on it. We’re in phase 1a now, with healthcare workers getting the first doses. There are about three million people in that phase.
Still, help has arrived during the state’s worst surge, which healthcare workers fear will lead to a rising death toll. But it also means more people than ever will have recovered from the virus by the time it’s their turn to get the shot. Dr. Matt Willis, the public health officer for Marin County, says the vaccine is safe for covid survivors like himself. He and Nezhura were panelists, along with UCLA infectious disease expert Dr. Timothy Brewer, at a coronavirus town hall moderated by Senator Mike McGuire last night.
Dr. Brewer said there’s been a 740% increase in cases since Halloween, which was a tipping point for the virus. There’s been a 400% increase in hospitalizations, and a 350% increase in deaths since a day that is generally seen as the kickoff to the holiday season.