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COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization

Recommendations for Moving Through Vaccine Phases and Tiers

January 7, 2021


Given the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends balancing the prioritization of these scarce resources to maximize the goal of achieving community immunity for all Californians.

After focused and appropriate efforts to reach the individual groups currently prioritized, health departments and providers may offer doses promptly to people in lower priority groups when:

  • Demand subsides in the current groups, or
  • Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions.

To maximize vaccine administration and reduce the potential for vaccine wastage, local health departments and providers should immediately administer COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in all tiers of Phase 1a. Providers offering vaccines should consider partnering with other providers or organizations to provide vaccinations for individuals in the prioritized tiers. However, local health departments and providers should make special efforts to administer the vaccine to vaccinators.

Local health departments and providers may allocate doses on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then continue to offer vaccinations to all individuals in progressive priority tiers. If a county has maximized use of the vaccine to administer individuals in Phase 1a, they should move to Phase 1b, Tier 1 while continuing to offer vaccines to those in higher priority groups.

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