California’s covid-19 vaccination plan

In addition to Trump botching the response to the pandemic by dismissing its seriousness and deliberately undercutting common-sense precautionary measures like wearing masks, the vaccination process has also been rocky, leading to a much slower rollout than anticipated, while leaving the public confused as to when and where they will be able to get the vaccine and how they will be told.

My local newspaper the Monterey Herald lays out California’s plan for vaccinating people that I suspect is similar to what other states are planning so I am posting it for the benefit of those who are curious as to when they might be getting the vaccine.

It consists of four stages (Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, 2) some with tiers within them.

Phase 1A consists of three tiers of medical personnel and people in places serviced by them and that process has already started. They are being given these at their workplaces.

Phase 1B consists of two tiers and is expected to begin in early February with everyone in it to get at least one dose by late March.

Tier 1: Anyone age 75 and older; workers in education and child care; emergency services workers (fire, police and corrections officials); workers in food and agriculture, including grocery store workers.

Tier 2: Anyone 65 and older; workers in transportation/logistics; industrial, residential, & commercial sheltering facilities /services; critical manufacturing; incarcerated individuals; homeless.

When the vaccine is available to these groups, it will likely be given by doctors and health plans, primary care clinics, pharmacies, some workplaces and special vaccination sites run by county departments of public health and other community partners.

If you’re eligible based on your age, your doctor or health plan may reach out. Kaiser, for instance, will identify eligible members and offer an appointment. Local health departments say they’ll seek out older adults by working with community groups and retirement communities.

If you’re eligible based on your occupation — education, agriculture and food services — your employer may notify you.

The next stage is Phase 1C that “includes anyone age 50 or older and anyone age 16 to 49 at high risk due to disability or underlying medical conditions and/or disability” and people in those categories should be getting it by late April or early May.

Call the state’s COVID-19 hotline: 1-833-422-4255 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday). The hotline will provide general information about eligibility in Phase 1A, 1B and 1C. Provide your age and a description of the kind of work you do.

Phase 2 is for the rest of the population and that schedule is currently being worked out.


  1. Mark Dowd says

    What is with this dumbass naming? Why have sub-phases if you’re just going to have sun-times within the sub-phases. Just make it 4 phases.

  2. prl says

    The Australian rollout priorities are:

    Phase 1a -- Up to 1.4 million doses
    Quarantine and border workers
    Frontline health care worker sub-groups for prioritisation
    Aged care and disability care staff
    Aged care and disability care residents

    Phase 1b -- Up to 14.8 million doses
    Elderly adults aged 80 years and over
    Elderly adults aged 70-79 years
    Other health care workers
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people > 55
    Younger adults with an underlying medical condition, including those with a disability
    Critical and high risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat processing

    Phase 2a -- Up to 15.8 million doses
    Adults aged 60-69 years
    Adults aged 50-59 years
    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 18-54
    Other critical and high risk workers

    Phase 2a -- Up to 16 million doses
    Balance of adult population
    Catch up any unvaccinated Australians from previous phases

    The document doesn’t show target times for when the phases will start, but the program is expected to start in February, having been brought forward from the previously announced start in March (I suspect because of the emergence of variants with higher infection rates, like the so-called UK variant).

    The document also doesn’t say whether the order of groups within a phase implies order of vaccination priority.

    There is less urgency in delivering the vaccine here, because the average local transmission rate is low (no more than 35 cases/day on every day since mid-September, and most days < 10 new local cases/day).

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