Concerns about the coronavirus vaccine’s availability has been raised between advocates for farmworkers, teachers, grocery store clerks, and other essential workers as California officials are considering prioritizing age when deciding who to vaccinate first.
The move would make sense, state officials said, as older residents were much more prone to being hospitalized and dying from the COVID-19 virus. However, in a report on Sunday, California was struggling to acquire and administer the vaccine, impeding the state’s capability to inoculate its residents and could push the completion of the vaccination process of people aged 65 years or older until June.
Solana Beach School District school board member and California School Boards Association director, Debra Schade, said that the uncertainty could mean school employees and teachers were not likely to be vaccinated until this coming summer.
“It will be a heavy lifting to get those districts open without risk mitigation that the vaccine would provide,” Schade said.
On Monday, Fresno County government officials aim to offer the vaccine to about 3,000 farmworkers as numerous local government employees and essential staff workers have already received their doses.
However, a California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation advocate, Noe Paramo, said that without specific state guidelines on how to prioritize vaccination of agricultural workers, counties might push them to the sidelines.
Recent data showed that three-quarters of the people who died in California because of the COVID-19 virus were in the 65 years and older age range.
The director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, said that the state could reduce the number of deaths related to the coronavirus by vaccinating older people who are more at risk of succumbing to the infectious disease, the Associated Press reported.
The state’s Department of Public Health reported that on Sunday, there were a total of 429 coronavirus-related deaths, only two days after setting a new one-day record of 764. California has recorded a total of 36,790 deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the total number of people infected with the virus has risen to 3.1 million.
However, the state also recorded a drop of 17% in the number of hospitalizations of people with COVID-19, dropping to 17,810 in two weeks. Officials said that across the state, the positivity rate was reduced by 10% in the last week, filling fewer beds in hospitals.