COVID vaccine: Who gets the shots and when, then what happens afterward?

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Gov. Gavin Newsom watches as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is prepared by Director of Inpatient Pharmacy David Cheng at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, U.S. December 14, 2020. Photo by Jae C. Hong/Reuters.

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in LA. There’s been a lot of talk about who should get them first and the fear some people have of getting vaccinated at all.

Dr. Oliver T. Brooks helped make the rules for vaccine distribution in LA County. He says he’s had conversations with people everywhere, including health care workers, who do have some hesitation, and it’s important to acknowledge their concerns. 

He says he’s eager and willing to get the vaccine. “Another thing I do tell people is the vaccine truly is safe and effective. It’s been scrutinized.”

Brooks says the doses will be administered first to essential workers. “There’s somewhere between eight and 11 million essential workers. And we don’t have eight to 11 million doses available for them.” 

Brooks says, “The fundamental framework that we are utilizing to prioritize [people] is the effect on society if they weren’t working, their exposure at work … equity and then the effect on the economy. So using those four guidelines as founding principles, we’re now looking through the 11 million essential workers and determining who’s in tier one, tier two, and so on and so forth.” 

He adds that the governor’s office should be coming out with more information soon about this. 

Brooks says herd immunity will be reached when about 70% of the population gets vaccinated. “If you’re in a crowd and you are positive, if 70-plus percent of the people around you are immune, it can’t spread.” 

And just because you get vaccinated, that doesn’t mean you should stop practicing safety protocols, he adds. 

“Don’t think that now you’re vaccinated, you can’t necessarily spread it. What it’ll be is those people in your household, once they’re vaccinated, then everyone can take off their masks and everyone can feel good. But yes, that’s really, really important. Not until you hear from us do you stop washing your hands, watching your distance, and wearing your mask.”

Credits

Guest:

  • Dr. Oliver T. Brooks - co-chair of California’s drafting guidelines workgroup, chief medical officer of Watts Healthcare Corporation