SAN LUIS OBISPO — Local hospital workers and long-term care facility residents and staff will be among the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in a matter of days. Due to limited supplies, the County is taking a phased approach to vaccine distribution over the coming weeks and months.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel. A vaccine will be here soon,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important tools for ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Two different COVID-19 vaccinations will be made available to some San Luis Obispo County residents by the end of December. Those vaccines will reduce their risk of getting COVID-19 by working with their bodies’ natural defenses to recognize the virus that causes COVID-19 and produce antibodies to fight the virus.
The County Public Health Department will receive 1,950 doses in the coming days, which will be distributed to local front-line health care workers. Long-term care facilities should receive their first doses by the end of the month.
County health officials have been preparing for vaccine storage for several months now and are working with local health care professionals on a vaccination distribution plan. The vaccines will have limited availability at first, reaching those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19.
The California Public Health Department (CDPH) and United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a phased approach to distribute the vaccine because there will initially be a limited supply.
“The ultimate goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available, but until then, we are going to distribute the limited supply we have to the highest-risk individuals this year,” Dr. Borenstein said. “As more supply becomes available, more people in our community will have the opportunity to get vaccinated.”
There are two phases of distribution. Phase 1 includes the highest-risk individuals, starting with hospital workers, EMS personnel, skilled nursing facilities (staff and residents), dialysis centers, and ending with other essential workers and anyone who has high-risk medical conditions or is over the age of 65.
For more information, visit www.ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at (805) 543-2444 is available Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist with questions related to COVID-19.