While a publicly available vaccine against COVID-19 may still be months or longer away, officials in Pasadena and countywide are making preparations for that much-anticipated day.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to direct the L.A. County Department of Public Health to work with cities and other agencies to develop a plan for the orderly and equitable distribution of a vaccine throughout the county and report back within 45 days, according to a statement from the office of Supervisor Janice Hahn, who initiated the motion.
“We are the largest county in the nation, and when the time comes, we will need to fairly and equitably get a vaccine to over 10 million people,” Hahn said. “We need to start preparing now to receive, store, distribute, and administer a vaccine so we don’t waste any time.”
The Pasadena Public Health Department has also been preparing for the potential rollout of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
“We’ve been planning since day one,” said city spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.
“Every year we conduct exercises on points of dispensing for other types of outbreaks or vaccines, although COVID paints a different picture due to social distancing and other precautionary measures,” Derderian said. “We have in communication and coordination with our other health departments and state and federal agencies for planning and eventual implementation.”
Derderian added that she had no doubt that when the time comes, the vaccine will be distributed “fairly” throughout the county’s 88 incorporated cities, including Pasadena.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged state public health officials to start preparing for the implementation of a vaccine, according to Hahn’s office, adding that 37 different vaccines are currently being developed, with three of them in the third phase of clinical trials.
“Some reports indicate that limited COVID-19 vaccine doses in phase 3 may be available by early November 2020, with substantial increases in vaccine supply slated for 2021,” the statement said.
Among issues that will need addressing are ordering of the vaccine; preparation and delivery; storage and handling, identifying high-risk groups to prioritize for vaccination, such as the vulnerable and front-line health workers; and planning for mass vaccination clinics, when supplied permit, officials said.
“With well over 10 million residents, Los Angeles County must prepare a vaccination plan that ensures intentional and systematic allocation, with priority given to those in targeted groups and underserved populations who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” according to the statement from Hahn’s office.
The motion can be viewed online at file.lacounty.gov/SDSInter/bos/supdocs/148737.pdf.