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COVID: Five Things You Need to Know 2/17/21

Fighting the pandemic in California is rapidly evolving. Here is the most recent installment of 5 Things You Need To Know About COVID-19. 

First, details surrounding Blue Shield of California’s vaccination plan have been released. The broad goal Blue Shield will be tasked with: vaccinate 3 million Californians per week by March 1st, supply permitting. Other goals for Blue Shield’s take over: 

  • Vaccinate 4 million people per week by April 30 as long as there are ample supplies available.
  • Vaccine sites must be within 30 minutes from Californians in urban areas and 60 minutes from Californians in rural areas.
  • Providers must administer 95% of doses given to them within one week of receiving them.

The insurance provider will be required to create a monthly vaccination goal for underserved populations in March. The State’s contract with Blue Shield became effective yesterday, February 15th and will remain in effect until at least December 31st, 2021. The following phase allowed for vaccination, starting March 15th, will include those with a narrow list of high-risk medical conditions and disabilities. 

Second, San Mateo County will begin vaccinating essential workers beginning February 22nd. This includes workers identified by the State under Phase 1B and includes teachers, child care workers, food and agriculture workers, law enforcement officers, and certain grocery store workers. Vaccines will be administered as long as supplies are available. The County is still focused on vaccinating health care workers and those over the age of 65. 

Third, President Biden announced that the Administration had closed deals for 200 million for COVID-19 vaccines. Deals were made with Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, each for 100 million vaccines. This bolsters the current vaccine supply to vaccinate a total of 300 million Americans by the end of July. As mentioned previously, ample vaccine supply has been the largest impediment to the distribution of vaccines to the general public. There will still be a needs gap of 40 million Americans, but the deals gets us closer to herd immunity. It is still unclear if the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna will work on emerging strains of COVID-19 and it is expected we will continue to wear masks and social distance for the foreseeable future. 

Fourth, SVLG member company the 49ers has opened up a mass vaccination site at Levi’s Stadium. The site will have capacity to provide 15,000 vaccines daily and is the largest site in California. Governor Newsom joined County officials on the opening day to welcome the public to the site and held a press conference where he indicated the lack of consistent vaccine supply is hampering the State’s efforts to get community members vaccinated. In the same week Santa Clara County announced the “No Wrong Door” policy outlining that those aged 65 and older would be allowed to use any provider to receive their vaccination. 

And fifth, the CDC announced last Friday, February 12th that schools have the green light to reopen this school year under certain precautions outlined in the “road map” released by the CDC the same day. This news comes at a time when schools have not reopened in many parts of the country. The CDC cites a growing body of evidence showing that schools can reopen for in-person learning safely and reiterates that teachers should be the top priority for receiving vaccinations above other workers within schools. 

The next installment of 5 Things You Need To Know About COVID-19 will come out in two weeks on Monday, March 1, 2021. In the meantime if you have questions or comments regarding SVLG’s COVID-19 work please reach out to me at [email protected]. Thank you and stay safe.

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