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Who will get the first COVID vaccines? States race to decide

By Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

In California, Ghaly said state officials are still completing the identification process as well as enrolling medical providers who can administer vaccine when it arrives.

Additionally, the state will likely have to set up some kind of tiering process because not all of the estimated 2.4 million health care workers in California will be able to get immunized in the first round.

"There's a lot of work to be done," Ghaly said.

Some states have clearly made more progress than others, said Jennifer Kates, senior vice president of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, which reviewed each state's vaccination distribution plans. "There are still a lot of things that states need to figure out."


The foundation's review found, for example, that only about half of states mention plans to reach racial and ethnic minorities, despite the disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on these communities. Just a quarter mention health care providers that could be used to help vaccinate these groups, the report found.

Health officials predicted that will be just one of the challenges that await states as the vaccine campaign gets rolling.

"There is going to be drama," said Dr. Georges Benjamin, the longtime head of the American Public Health Association. "So far, this administration has done a pretty good job supporting the science of developing vaccines. On the delivery side, the jury is still out."

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