vaccineallocationguidelines Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidelines

Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidelines

​Based on available supply, individuals described below are or will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Phase 1A* (healthcare workers and LTC residents): 3,142,166 Californians
  • Phase 1B
    • Food/Agriculture***, Education/Childcare**, and Emergency Services***:  5,960,528 Californians
    • 65+: 6,254,300 Californians

Beginning March 15, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgement to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at the very highest risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 as a direct result of one or more of the severe health conditions included in this provider bulletin.

Achieving equity

This age-based framework will be coupled with a vaccine distribution and engagement approach that prioritizes disproportionately impacted communities, settings, and populations to ensure those eligible for vaccines within these communities are more likely to receive it. 

Minimizing disuse of scarce COVID-19 vaccine

To avoid wastage or disuse of scarce supplies and maximize their benefit to Californians:

  • Allocations of doses are made on the assumption that immunization will be accepted by some but not all who are offered the vaccine, and then adjust later allocations based on the number of doses that are accepted.
  • After focused and appropriate efforts to reach the groups prioritized at that moment, providers may offer vaccine promptly to persons in lower priority groups when:
    • Demand subsides in the current groups, or
    • Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions.
  • Providers may temporarily adjust prioritization based on other resource constraints while continuing efforts to immunize higher priority groups as soon as feasible.

Other Frequently Asked Questions: 

If someone was given a first dose of vaccine that does not meet the most up to date vaccine eligibility criteria, should they receive a second?

Individuals who have already received their 1st dose of COVID-19 vaccine should receive their 2nd dose at the recommended interval for that vaccine.

Are family member caregivers of regional center consumers eligible as healthcare providers for Phase 1A? 

Yes, family member caregivers with direct risk of COVID-19 exposure who care for regional center consumers at high risk of COVID-19 complications and related fatalities including the following conditions: cerebral palsy, down syndrome, epilepsy, and individuals who have specialized health care needs, including dependence upon ventilators, oxygen, and other technology are eligible.   This does not include other family members within the same household who do not provide direct care to the regional center consumer.  Eligible family members must obtain documentation from their regional centers, verifying the qualifying condition of the family member cared for and caregiver status.  

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*Phase 1A eligibility

Occupation:  Persons at risk of direct patient exposure in settings included in the Health Care and Public Health Sector from the CA Essential Workforce list. This includes both clinical and non-clinical roles.  In addition, workers who come into direct contact with the virus through research, development, manufacturing or testing are included.  Finally, workers who are manufacturing vaccine, therapeutics, devices, supplies or personal protective equipment supporting the COVID-19 response are included due to the adverse public health impact that delays in production would cause. Workers included in the Health Care and Public Health Sector from CA Essential Workforce that are not considered eligible above for Phase 1A vaccinations include:

  • #12. Workers that manage health plans, billing, and health information (as opposed to administrative workers in clinical or other settings referenced elsewhere in this sector).
  • #22. Workers supporting operations of outdoor recreational facilities for the purpose of facilitating physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise.  Activities to facilitate outdoor exercise does not translate to direct occupational risk for COVID-19 patient exposures.

Technical notes:  Due to overlapping definitions in the Health Care and Public Health and Food and Agriculture Essential Workforce definitions, the following clarifications are necessary:

  • #7.  Cannabis industry employees are included in Phase 1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b Food and Agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution. Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated as necessary in Phase 1b, Tier 1, by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications.

  • #21. Workers supporting veterinary services.  Phase 1b, Tier 1 Food & Agricultural workers, includes veterinary work in a wider variety of work settings.  In the context of COVID-19 vaccine, the focus for phase 1A is on human-to-human exposures in human clinical settings.  As such, veterinary services employees may be more appropriately vaccinated in Phase 1b.

Settings - High-risk Congregate Residential Facilities:

  • Residents of skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar long-term care settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals

**Persons at risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in the following Education and Child Care settings

  • All formal and informal childcare workers, including day care providers
  • All staff in colleges, universities, junior colleges, community colleges, and other postsecondary education facilities
  • All staff in educational support services and administration
  • All staff in Pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high schools
  • All staff in technical and trade schools
  • Any other workers involved in child and/or student care, including school bus drivers and monitors, crosswalk guards, etc.


***Persons at risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 through their work in any role in the Emergency Services & Food and Agriculture Sectors from CA Essential Workforce list and any employee working in a restaurant to the extent not described in the Food and Agriculture Sectors from the CA Essential Worker list.