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Walnut Creek Magazine

On the Health Front: COVID-19 Vaccines

It’s been a long ten months since things were “normal.” It's a sentiment that rings especially true for seniors who have spent most of the time isolated in confined living spaces. Finally, good news for adults 65 and older in California. 

The newly announced expansion of California's COVID-19 vaccine campaign has created confusion, here we try to answer some of your questions.

People aged 65 and older are the next eligible group to start receiving vaccines.

The 65-year-old group jumped ahead in line from Phase 1B Tier Two to join the 75-year-olds, teachers, and workers in childcare, food, and agriculture, creating one big Tier One group.

Vaccines are in short supply. In her monthly newsletter, Supervisor Candace Andersen stated Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has received 40,825 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to date and allocated (distributed or earmarked) 24,000 doses for use by the healthcare sector.

“The vaccine has been in short supply initially and it will take months before it’s widely available. Healthcare workers, first responders, and nursing home staff and residents are the first being vaccinated, followed by other frontline workers, and high-risk populations. Supplies will increase over time, and all persons 16 years and older are estimated to be able to receive the vaccine by the second half of 2021.”

CCHS Vaccine Health Web Page: This is the “go-to” for everything vaccine-related in Contra Costa County.

To register for a vaccination appointment in Contra Costa County, the first step is to fill out the request form online. Once approved, you will receive instructions on how to schedule an appointment. Since demand for the vaccine is high, but supplies are limited, you may be placed on a waiting list until additional doses come in and appointments open up.

For everyone else, it’s a waiting game. Next week, the State of California is expected to unveil a new system on vaccine eligibility which includes specifics on how to register in advance for an email notification or text alert when you become eligible.

Who will administer the vaccines? Once approved, you can coordinate through your primary care doctor to receive the vaccine. Other options include community vaccination sites, and eventually CVS and Walgreens, but at this stage, public health officials are still working on rollout plans for Contra Costa County, with more information expected early next week.

In other good news, the Greater Sacramento Region moves to the purple tier. Despite a continued surge in hospitalizations and deaths, Governor Newsom announced positivity rates are beginning to stabilize, allowing the state to lift stay at home orders in the Sacramento Region. According to an article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, "orders can be lifted when a region’s available ICU capacity is projected to meet or exceed 15% within four weeks. That’s why people from Davis to Tahoe can now dine outdoors and go get a haircut again — but Bay Area residents are unlikely to do so in the near future."



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