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Second COVID Dose Safe 6 Weeks After First, California Says

The California Department of Public Health reported Wednesday providers have administered 5,089,484 out of about 7.6 million doses that have been distributed to hospital systems and local health offices.

by Michael McGough, The Sacramento Bee / February 11, 2021
Anaheim, CA - January 13: Officials take the temperature of Orange County active Phase 1A (critical and healthcare workers) residents as they enter large tents at Orange County's first large-scale vaccination site to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in the Toy Story parking lot at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. Orange County supervisors and Orange County Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau held a news conference discussing the county's first Super POD (point-of-dispensing) site for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The vaccinations are at Tier 1A for people who have reservations on a website. The site is able to handle 7,000 immunizations per day. Their goal is to immunize everyone in Orange County who chooses to do so by July 4th. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times) TNS
(TNS) - California is more than eight weeks into a mass vaccination campaign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, administering tens of thousands of shots a day.
The California Department of Public Health on its vaccine tracker reported Wednesday providers have administered 5,089,484 out of about 7.6 million doses that have been distributed to hospital systems and local health offices, an increase of 174,854 from Tuesday. The total grew by about 168,000 from Monday to Tuesday.
The state public health numbers don't distinguish between first and second doses. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 81% of California's shots given have been first doses: about 4 million, compared to at least about 929,000 second doses.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two shots. Pfizer's shots should be taken three weeks apart and Moderna's four weeks apart.
The state changed its guidelines for dose timing this week, now saying that if one cannot get the second shot at those recommended intervals, "second doses may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose."
The CDPH vaccination website had previously stated that there was "no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine."
"There is limited data on how well these vaccines work beyond this window. But if the second dose is given after 42 days, there is no need to start over," the website now says.
The CDC issued the same guidance in late January, saying the period should only be extended to six weeks if getting the second dose at the three-week or four-week point is "not feasible."
The CDC on its tracking dashboard reported that California through Tuesday had administered 12,546 doses for every 100,000 residents. That ranks 32nd among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Last Friday, California ranked 42nd.
California next week will receive 622,100 first doses, up from 593,700 that were allocated for this week, according to the CDC. The state's supply has increased about 5% in each of the past two weekly federal allocations.
Hospital systems and public health clinics have been expanding access. Sacramento County last week formally entered the first tier of Phase 1B of the rollout, giving shots to some people ages 65 and older as well as to law enforcement and emergency services workers while also continuing to vaccinate health workers in Phase 1A.
Sutter Health, UC Davis Medical Center and Mercy Medical Group are all scheduling appointments for residents ages 65 and older. The county's other major health provider, Kaiser Permanente, continues to offer appointments only for those 75 and older, along with 1A health workers.
Here is the latest on vaccine distribution in the Sacramento area:
How many doses have been given across Sacramento area?
These are the totals for combined first and second doses, administered through Tuesday, as reported by the state public health department, by recipient county of residence.
— Sacramento: 171,266 (10,923 doses per 100,000 residents)
— El Dorado: 24,102 (12,482 doses per 100,000)
— Placer: 65,563 (16,373 doses per 100,000)
— Yolo: 30,205 (13,508 doses per 100,000)
Sacramento is 14% below the statewide average, according to CDPH data. Placer County is 29% ahead of the statewide rate.
It's unclear to what extent reporting delays play a factor in county-to-county differences.
Sacramento-area health offices, public clinics
Local health departments in the capital region are receiving several thousand doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on a weekly basis, according to each county.
Most county health offices are splitting their direct allocations between their own county-run clinics, non-chain hospitals and other partners, including some Safeway pharmacies.
Counties in which multi-county hospital systems, such as Kaiser Permanente or Sutter Health, have little or no presence may be receiving larger direct allocations relative to their populations, which are then distributed to hospital systems that only operate in a single county.
— Phase: 1A (front-line health workers; long-term care residents) and early stages of 1B (adults 65 and older; essential workers in some sectors)
— Received directly: 138,225, updated Feb. 5
— Administered: 114,089 (83% of received)
Sacramento County's health department got 16,000 doses of vaccine this week, which are being divvied between its Cal Expo site, private partners and local hospitals.
The county has been told it will receive 18,125 doses next week, about a 13% increase.
The county is offering vaccine appointments at two clinics for those in eligible groups: one at the Sacramento State campus and one at California Northstate University in Elk Grove.
Appointment information can be found via the Sacramento County website at
Both the Sacramento State and Northstate sites are walk-thru clinics while Urgent Care Now is a drive-thru. All three offer only the Pfizer vaccine, which means a three-week wait for the second dose.
The county has also shared a list of partnering Safeway pharmacies that are offering clinics. Those are open for both health workers in Phase 1A and county residents at least 65 years old.
El Dorado
— Phase: 1A and first tier of 1B "with an emphasis on residents 75 and older"
— Received: 24,325 doses as of Feb. 5
— Administered: "Nearly 18,000" (74% of received) as of Feb. 3, according to the county website.
The county is offering assistance at its libraries for seniors 75 and older who do not have internet access or who are having trouble navigating the online registration system. A flyer with details can be found here, at www.edcgov/us.
— Phase: 1A; first tier of 1B "partially in progress"
— Received: 26,975 first doses and 11,625 second doses, for 38,600 total, as of Jan. 31.
— Administered: 11,302 total first and second doses administered as of Jan. 29, plus an estimated 4,200 last week for an estimated 40% of the received total, according to a monthly COVID-19 update
Placer notes that it re-allocated 14,225 first doses and 6,250 second doses to numerous recipients including Tahoe Forest Hospital, Safeway pharmacies, and, during Phase 1A health worker inoculations, to Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente. Of those not re-allocated, Placer officials say they've administered about 86% through last week.
Information on county-run clinics in Placer is available at
— Phase: 1A and early 1B, for adults 65 and older
— Received: "About 14,025" total first and second doses, county spokeswoman Jenny Tan said Monday.
— Administered: 7,603 first doses and 2,796 second doses for a total of 10,399 (74% of received) through last Friday, according to the county website.
Yolo County is holding two public clinics later this week for Yolo residents over age 65 — one in Woodland and one in Davis — but both have had all their appointment slots filled.
More details regarding county-run clinics are available on the county website at
Hospital systems
Hospital systems operating in multiple counties receive their own allocations from the state.
Most of the earliest of these shots went to health workers, but priority is being expanded to patients in the 65-plus and 75-plus age groups.
Sutter Health has opened its appointments to those 65 or older. Patients of the health system who meet the age criteria can find booking information through Sutter's My Health Online portal.
Sutter last week opened centers in Sacramento and Roseville to vaccinate its patients.
UC Davis Health officials told The Bee early last week that the system had vaccinated more than 22,000 people so far, including more than 11,000 employees and students plus more than 10,000 patients.
It started vaccinations for adults ages 75 and older in mid-January and according to its website is now vaccinating patients 65 and older.
Dignity Health's Mercy Medical Group in an update on its website said it has "rapidly scaled" its vaccinations since opening pilot clinics in the Sacramento area early January, and will be giving 2,400 shots this week to patients ages 65 and older.
The provider says it will be proactively contacting patients who meet the eligibility criteria.
Kaiser Permanente continues to focus initial inoculations on those ages 75 and older due to limited supply, according to its patient website.
The provider recently began posting daily updates for Northern California including its total allocation. As of a Tuesday update, Kaiser Permanente says it has received 269,500 doses from the state and given about 251,000 — 93% of them — to patients.
Kaiser Permanente says it has about 693,000 members ages 65 and older living in Northern California.
"We're starting with adults 75 and older," the vaccination page on the provider's website reads.
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