SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – As the number of COVID-19 cases across the state continue to surge, doses of a second vaccine approved by the FDA are on their way to the Bay Area.
So far, more than 110,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine have already been delivered across the state, with more than 600,000 more expected by the end of the week.
Cardboard boxes full of Moderna vaccine vials started getting delivered to 31 sites across California on Monday. The company started shipping more than 6 million doses across the country Sunday, only two days after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval.
“Moderna vaccine has arrived and that is indeed good news. 672,600 to be exact, is what we anticipate receiving this week,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom during a virtual press conference Monday afternoon.
Newsom is working from home after having to quarantine due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19. It is the second time he has had to quarantine at home in the past month.
According to health departments in the Bay Area, Contra Costa County got 13,800 doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday morning. San Francisco is expecting 6,000 doses by the end of the week and Napa County has already received 1,700 doses.
“It gives us hope and hope is not something we’ve had for a long time,” says UC Berkeley public health expert, Dr. John Swartzberg. He said having more of the vaccine available throughout the Bay Area means the rollout can happen beyond health care workers in high-risk settings.
“The sooner that group gets vaccinated, the sooner you can move into to phase 1b. The sooner you get phase 1b, then you get phase 1c,” said Swartzberg.
The state committee working on how to roll out the vaccine will meet again Wednesday to talk about which groups should be prioritized. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control released their list of recommendations. The CDC said the next group to get the vaccine should be people 75 and older, especially in long-term care settings, as well as essential workers including teachers, first responders, and grocery store workers.
The Moderna vaccine is also key to getting people in the rural parts of the state vaccinated. Pfizer’s vaccine, which was approved earlier this month, has to be kept at negative 94 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires a specialized freezers that are usually only found at major medical centers.
Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine only needs to be kept at negative 4 degrees, which means it can go into a regular freezer with no special equipment needed.
The goal is still to get to everyone by next summer. One thing that experts are worried about is people who are not in high-risk groups trying to cut the line.