LOS ANGELES — Earlier this week, the United Kingdom authorized the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and now U.S. health officials are hoping Americans will soon welcome a federally approved vaccine, too.
What You Need To Know
- In the coming days, the FDA is set to consider the approval of its first emergency authorized vaccine
- The California Department of Public Health said they’re “currently assessing our additions resource needs for planning and implementation”
- Governor Gavin Newsom appointed the state’s own independent group of scientists that will verify any FDA-approved vaccine to ensure safety
- The CDPH said vaccines will roll out in phases
In the coming days, the Food and Drug Administration is set to consider the approval of its first emergency authorized vaccine as coronavirus cases surge across the country.
California officials said all plans are in place for the first round of vaccine distributions. The California Department of Public Health said they are, “currently assessing our additions resource needs for planning and implementation.”
One southern California father, Ronen Landa, said the pandemic has been a challenge for his family. As a musician, Ronen said it has been a rough time for his industry, as he has had to adapt to keep working.
“There have been a lot of challenges,” Ronen said. “Finding new ways to be productive with work and career and also manage children and child care. It’s certainly been a big challenge.”
Ronen’s wife, Yael, said she looks forward to the day a COVID-19 vaccine can hopefully make a real impact.
At least two companies, Moderna and Pfizer, are making headlines for their vaccines’ high efficacy rates. They have both applied to get FDA emergency authorization and the state of California is in lockstep with the process.
The state said it is using a Notice of Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worth $28,681,532 to implement plans. Governor Gavin Newsom also appointed the state’s own independent group of scientists that will verify any FDA-approved vaccine to ensure safety.
The goal is to build confidence in the vaccine, allocation, and implementation.
“The truth is, we’ve been in a highly divisive political atmosphere. There are a lot of people who aren’t trusting government right now,” Ronen said. “I think these steps we’re taking to try and bolster trust in the vaccine, because if people don’t get vaccinated the fact that scientists worked so hard to develop the vaccine, isn’t going to solve the problem. We need to get people vaccinated. I think a plan like this to increase trust makes a lot of sense.”
The CDPH said vaccines would roll out in phases.
First, limited doses to people with a higher risk of “getting and spreading” COVID-19, like health care workers and the elderly. Then larger numbers to other populations like teachers, and then everyone else.
Yael said while she hopes there is support for a vaccine, she knows some people will be hesitant to get vaccinated.
“I’m sure it’s never going to be perfect,” Yael said. “Even when the vaccine will be available, a lot of people will be resistant for whatever reason and I’m sure fear will be a part of that, and people will want to give it a chance first to see how it will impact the community first before they make a decision. So it’s not going to be an easy process.”
The Landas believe one-day things will be better, economically, physically, and mentally, where children, like their daughter, Adi, who is in second grade can enjoy spending time with friends again.
“I miss hugging my friends,” Adi said.
The CDPH said extensive public and stakeholder engagement is underway, with “a focus on tailoring messages to key populations and vulnerable communities” in the state to “ensure maximum vaccines acceptance and trust in public health and in the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The federal government said COVID-19 vaccines could start going out to health care workers and the elderly as soon as this month.