December 10, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Public Health Vaccination
In late November, the California Department of Public Health announced membership in the Community Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC), with broad representation from diverse organizations and community stakeholders throughout California, to provide input into the distribution and allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine. The committee will help guide the state's decision making and ensuring that the vaccine is distributed and allocated equitably, at first to those with the highest risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19.
The California Medical Association (CMA) is represented on the committee by Hendry Ton, M.D., associate vice chancellor for health equity, diversity and inclusion at UC Davis Health.
The committee—chaired by California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris, M.D.—convened for its third meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2020, to continue its discussion about the ranking criteria for phase 1b of vaccine distribution (essential workers).
At a previous CVAC meeting , the committee identified four criteria to assess guide the work of prioritization:
- Occupational exposure
- Societal impact of job
- Impact on economy
Committee members noted a theme of intersectionality in their discussion—recognizing, for example, that occupational exposure may intersect with issues of equity. There was a repeated desire to identify and strengthen pathways for communication and trust building in order to combat vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable populations.
The CVAC meetings are conducted virtually and open to the public in listen-only mode. Public comment and feedback can be sent to COVID19vaccineoutreach@cdph.ca.gov for consideration at a future meeting. The meeting schedule can be found on the CDPH website.
The input and feedback gathered at the CVAC meeting is forwarded to the Drafting Guidelines Workgroup, which is developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccines when supply is limited. The workgroup previously outlined three tiers for vaccine distribution, with health care workers in group 1a. The Drafting Guidelines Workgroup next meets on Friday, December 11.
Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday evening that California has tripled the number of doses it expects to receive this month. California’s first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be arriving this month, with the state expecting 999,000 doses, including the 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine previously announced and 672,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine doses will arrive “in the coming days” and the Moderna vaccine doses are expected by the end of the month.
Both vaccines still await approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee recommended today that the agency approve the Pfizer vaccine. Prior to the vaccine being shipped, the FDA must still approve the vaccine and the Scientific Safety Review Taskforce formed by California will complete its review. That vaccine delivery could occur as early as next week.