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Riggs Report: Health care workers get top priority for COVID-19 vaccine – KCRA Sacramento

California is in the grips of a new and dangerous coronavirus cycle, prompting an expected statewide shutdown order. With more than 1.25 million confirmed coronavirus cases, health care workers are dealing with an average of 14,208 cases per day. The state health department reports that 8,240 patients are in the hospital, double the rate of just a couple of weeks ago. Intensive care units are in danger of being swamped by Christmas.Given those disturbing numbers, it’s welcome news that we’re fast approaching a point where emergency use of the newly developed coronavirus vaccines will be approved. As expected, those on the pandemic front lines — health care workers at hospitals and clinics — will get top priority for the shots. Other groups eventually expected to get priority include transportation workers, teachers, public safety workers and the elderly.This week, a federal panel voted to make those recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’ll now be up to the Food and Drug Administration to give the green light for emergency use of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. That is expected in the next two weeks.California is in line to receive an initial 327,000 doses from Pfizer’s labs, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Echoing federal intentions, Newsom said this week that those first in line will be health care workers who are in direct contact with COVID-19-infected patients.| RELATED | COVID-19 in California: Here are 4 vaccine questions answeredIt’s important to remember that even though the process is being fast-tracked, these new vaccines require two doses to be administered two weeks apart. That means that health care workers won’t be fully immunized until sometime in January.The United Kingdom made headlines this week with the news that it’s become the first country to approve the Pfizer vaccine for widespread use. They’re relying on studies that show the new vaccine to be 95% effective. That’s a much quicker timeline than the U.S., where widespread distribution of the vaccine is not expected until the spring of next year.Author Kevin Riggs is an Emmy-winning former political reporter for KCRA-TV. He is now the station’s political analyst and is senior vice president at Randle Communications.

California is in the grips of a new and dangerous coronavirus cycle, prompting an expected statewide shutdown order. With more than 1.25 million confirmed coronavirus cases, health care workers are dealing with an average of 14,208 cases per day.

The state health department reports that 8,240 patients are in the hospital, double the rate of just a couple of weeks ago. Intensive care units are in danger of being swamped by Christmas.

Given those disturbing numbers, it’s welcome news that we’re fast approaching a point where emergency use of the newly developed coronavirus vaccines will be approved. As expected, those on the pandemic front lines — health care workers at hospitals and clinics — will get top priority for the shots. Other groups eventually expected to get priority include transportation workers, teachers, public safety workers and the elderly.

This week, a federal panel voted to make those recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’ll now be up to the Food and Drug Administration to give the green light for emergency use of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. That is expected in the next two weeks.

California is in line to receive an initial 327,000 doses from Pfizer’s labs, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Echoing federal intentions, Newsom said this week that those first in line will be health care workers who are in direct contact with COVID-19-infected patients.

| RELATED | COVID-19 in California: Here are 4 vaccine questions answered

It’s important to remember that even though the process is being fast-tracked, these new vaccines require two doses to be administered two weeks apart. That means that health care workers won’t be fully immunized until sometime in January.

The United Kingdom made headlines this week with the news that it’s become the first country to approve the Pfizer vaccine for widespread use. They’re relying on studies that show the new vaccine to be 95% effective. That’s a much quicker timeline than the U.S., where widespread distribution of the vaccine is not expected until the spring of next year.

Author Kevin Riggs is an Emmy-winning former political reporter for KCRA-TV. He is now the station’s political analyst and is senior vice president at Randle Communications.

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