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Bay Area health officers call COVID vaccine ‘critical tool,’ discuss distribution

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Bay Area healthcare workers have started to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Health officers from across the Bay Area released a joint statement on Tuesday about the distribution of the vaccine, which they say is a critical tool for fighting the virus.

A federal and state framework was adopted in the Bay Area for the vaccines to begin in the hospitals and then to those in nursing facilities where the community is more vulnerable.

The statement read, “As vaccine supplies grow to eventually include other groups, the Bay Area’s Health Officers and federal officials believe these safe and effective vaccines will work in tandem with the daily habits and essential public health work that will ultimately end the pandemic.”

They say the key steps to fighting this pandemic are:

  • Public health work to protect high-risk groups and health care workers
  • Identify and isolate cases
  • Trace and quarantine contacts

This includes wearing a face mask, avoid gatherings, postponing travel, and staying home if possible,

The state distribution plan is supported by health officers from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, and the city of Berkeley.

The first phase of the distribution could take several months. The public vaccines could be available by the summer of 2021.

As the vaccines become available, the Bay Area health officers plan to take it.

As ICU’s get closer to capacity, many counties are enforcing stay-at-home orders and some are anticipated moving forward.

Officials say, “Staying home saves lives.”

Here are some statements from Bay Area health officers:

“Widespread vaccination is the final piece of the puzzle. The development and distribution of a rigorously tested, effective vaccine just one year after this virus first emerged is a testament to science, our guide throughout this pandemic.”

Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer

“In this darkest hour, the vaccine gives us a beacon to show the direction we’re headed. The actions and daily habits we each take increase the light on that path and improve safety for all.”

Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, Health Officer for the City of Berkeley

“This first batch of vaccine will protect those at critical risk of infection and give promise to our future. As we await increasing vaccine supply, letting our guard down too soon is dangerous. Smart choices and healthy daily habits for the pandemic are critical to protecting the rest of us.”

Dr. Karen Relucio, Napa County Health Officer

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