California's COVID-19 Vaccination Planning
From the start of this pandemic, data and science have guided our state's response to COVID-19. While there is no proven vaccine yet, California is putting everything in place to distribute and administer vaccine doses as quickly as possible, but only after vaccine safety has been reviewed and approved by a panel of top health experts.
California's planning process for the eventual distribution and administration of COVID-19 is guided by the overarching principles of ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements; ensuring that the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably, at first to those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19; and transparency, by bringing in community stakeholders from the outset.
California is leveraging its well-established existing immunization framework and emergency response infrastructure to coordinate efforts between state, local, and territorial authorities and administer the vaccine. The state is building on lessons learned from previous vaccination campaigns and seasonal influenza efforts to prepare and plan for the receipt and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and its implementation across the state.
The recruitment and enrollment of COVID-19 vaccine providers is a critical process and relies on extensive collaboration between the state, local health departments, immunization coalitions and statewide organizations and associations. Allocation decisions will be data driven with an emphasis on equity and on protecting vulnerable populations.
California's COVID-19 vaccination plan is being implemented in several phases: Pre-vaccine; limited doses available; larger number of doses available; and sufficient supply of doses for entire population.
To accomplish the twin principles of safety and equity, California established the COVID-19 California Governor's Vaccine Task Force and a COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force Working Group with leadership and subject matter expertise. Additionally, California is drawing upon the knowledge of many to ensure the following:
To ensure the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements, California formed a Scientific Safety Review Work Group comprised of nationally recognized immunization, public health, academic and other subject matter experts. The work group is staying abreast of vaccine candidate(s) trials, evidence of safety and efficacy, and other information to independently provide recommendations to California leadership and vaccine planning efforts as well as ensure public confidence in vaccine safety, efficacy, and implementation efforts. In October, 2020, this Work Group expanded to include western state partners.
Two work groups are working to ensure the vaccine is distributed and administered equitably: a Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccine when supplies are limited, and the Community Advisory Vaccine Committee is providing input and feedback to the planning efforts and resolving barriers to equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making.
A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important interventions to end the COVID-19 pandemic. California is working hard to be transparent, careful, and above all, equitable in efforts to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in California who needs and requests vaccination.