SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- The Bay Area is very close to receiving the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but only a fraction of the 40 million doses available in the country will be shipped initially.
Millions of doses will be divided up among the 50 states and shipped as early as next week. Thousands of the initial shipments will be arriving at hospitals and other facilities determined by local county health departments across the Bay Area.
Still, the vaccine is still months away from being available to the general public.
The Coast Guard Base in Alameda is one of 13 federal sites chosen to receive the first shipments of the COVID vaccine for the Department of Defense.
The federal government will coordinate distribution, with each state and county receiving doses on a per capita basis.
"We're recommending that everyone take the vaccine. Some people may experience small adverse effects. We are keen to watch this and share that information," said assistant secretary of defense for health affairs Thomas McCaffery.
Staff at long term care facilities like Belmont Village Community in Albany, are among the first to get priority in line with Centers for Disease Control guidance.
So are nurses at acute care facilities like hospitals.
"It's likely I will take it. I work in more than one health care institution in a hospital and teaching setting, so probably yes," said Marin Health Nurse Lyza Myers.
"We are expecting 12,000 vaccine doses in our first allocation from the state and federal government," said San Francisco County Department of Health Officer Dr. Grant Colfax.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to grant Emergency Use Authorization, on Thursday. If it does, California will receive 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next week.
Santa Clara County will get 17,550, while almost 2000 doses, will be shipped to Marin County, where long-term care facilities have been hit hard.
Nursing home residents account for 85 percent of deaths in Marin County.
"Widespread distribution could be underway by next spring or summer," said Colfax.
The 44,000 doses allocated to the Department of Defense is on a per capita basis, the same way states are receiving the limited initial supply.
The Federal government is overseeing Operation Warp Speed, which includes distribution.
Part of the strategy is to have a national stockpile, so even though 40 million doses are expected by the end of the year, only a portion will be distributed.
As production increases week by week, the stockpile grows and more will be given to the states and counties.
California is expected to receive 673,000 doses of the Moderna COVID vaccine in the third or fourth week of December.
for more features.