By Quinci LeGardye, California Black Media
A second COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in California this week, one that is easier for smaller community centers and pharmacies to safely distribute than the Pfizer vaccine, which must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures: around minus 70 degrees Celsius.
On Dec. 18, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of a vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health for adults 18 and older. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which includes scientists from California, endorsed the vaccine on Dec. 20.
The Moderna vaccine was developed using the same technology as the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. In clinical trials involving over 30,000 adults, the Moderna vaccine was found to have 94.5 % efficacy at preventing COVID-19.
Distribution of the Moderna vaccine will prioritize similar groups as the Pfizer vaccine: healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff first, followed by essential workers and members of high-risk groups. It will also be sent to many smaller and rural hospitals. The general public will likely not receive the vaccine until spring or summer of 2021
California initially received 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which was authorized Dec. 11. Some healthcare workers and long-term care residents across the state have begun receiving vaccinations.
Members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have also begun receiving vaccinations based on the recommendation of the Attending Physician of Congress. Many politicians have been documenting their vaccinations on social media to encourage the public to follow their examples.
California Congresswomen Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), who received the vaccine on Dec. 19, encouraged Californians to take the shot.
“Building public trust in this vaccine will be crucial if we want to turn the corner and crush this virus. I urge everyone, especially people of color who have suffered the most from this pandemic, to recognize that the risk of contracting COVID-19 far outweighs the understandable skepticism of this vaccine,” Lee said.