City of Long Beach Public Information Office 411 W. Ocean Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90802
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 121020-3
City Announces Plan for Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines
Critical Populations Will Have Access to the Vaccine Initially
City of Long Beach Joint Information Center
Long Beach, CA - The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has announced that it will receive up to 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and vaccinations should begin by the end of the year. Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will complete the review of the Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, which is anticipated to begin shipping on December 14. In addition to the 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the City expects to receive up to 11,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine in the weeks ahead. Critical populations, like hospital workers, will have access to the vaccine initially.
“COVID-19 remains the biggest threat to life in our city, but our vaccine plan is giving our community hope,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We are prepared and look forward to starting distribution in the next couple of weeks for key medical staff.”
The Health Department is managing the vaccine distribution process and will be following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State. The City has the infrastructure to receive, store, distribute and dispense the vaccine.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and provide the same efficacy. The difference between the two vaccines is the storage requirements.
Vaccine distribution and dispensing is a normal function of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services. Its Public Health Emergency Management team and immunization coordinator have been training and exercising to prepare for mass vaccinations for years. Every year, including this one, the Health Department practices for emergency vaccine distribution by conducting mass vaccination events in the City during the flu season when it provides free drive-thru flu vaccines.
“We are hopeful about the positive impact of vaccines but we are not out of the woods yet,” said Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis. “We are extremely concerned about the boom in positive cases and the demand on ICU staff in our community. We must stay the course and continue to take the necessary precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Long Beach residents should expect that they will be able to receive the vaccine at no charge because it will be paid for by the federal government or through one’s insurance company.
Vaccine Administration Overview There will be several phases to the overall vaccination plan. Phases are determined by the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP has given guidance on prioritizing those who are at highest risk of infection, like our hospital workers and other frontline workers, and later expanding to other essential workers, adults over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions. This prioritization, established to benefit the entire community, is organized into a set of phases, sub phases and tiers.
Phase 1a will be the first group to have access to the vaccine.The number of people in this group is larger than the quantity of doses in the first shipment, therefore Phase 1a is divided into three tiers. The City expects everyone in Phase 1a to be vaccinated within the first three months of next year.
Tier 1 of Phase 1a includes acute care and skilled nursing facilities, paramedics and EMTs and dialysis centers.
Tier 2 includes intermediate and home health care, community/public health field staff and primary care clinics.
Most other healthcare settings including laboratories, dentist offices and pharmacies will be in Tier 3.
In Phase 1b, as more vaccine allotments are received, they will be offered to other essential workers which includes refuse workers, grocery workers and those who have been working during the pandemic in an essential job function. The City anticipates this phase will begin in March or April of 2021. Phase 1c includes high-risk populations of adults over age 65 and adults with high-risk medical conditions.
During Phase 2, the vaccine will be available to the general public. Administration of the vaccine to the general public is expected in early summer. Over the next few months, the Health Department will be distributing vaccines to City partners to ensure those in Phase 1 can receive the vaccination. Then City-led dispensing operations will begin. The Health Department will hold dispensing clinics, known as PODs (Point of Dispensing) initially for essential workers and later for the general public.
As positive COVID-19 cases continue to increase, the City strongly urges residents to:
Stay at home as much as possible - leave your home only as necessary to access and provide essential services.
Wear a face covering whenever you leave your home.
Avoid close contact with anyone outside your household.
Wash your hands and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
As of today, Dec. 10, 20,088 people in Long Beach have tested positive for COVID-19. Approximately 16,213 have recovered; 290 residents have died from the virus.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.