After receiving a stamp of approval from the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Sunday, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine may be available in Berkeley later this week.
Set to receive 700 doses of the vaccine, Berkeley will prioritize health care workers and individuals who work in environments where there is at risk of exposure to COVID-19, in accordance with guidelines established by the California Department of Public Health.
More doses will also be provided to CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens for long-term care facilities and adult residential living facilities, according to Lisa Warhuus, director of the city’s Health, Housing and Community Services Department.
“Widespread vaccination is the final piece of the puzzle,” said Edward Moreno, Monterey County health officer, in a Berkeley press release. “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.”
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is the second to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use and is about 94% effective. Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, on the other hand, was the first to gain approval and has been administered to health care workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
The general public could potentially be vaccinated as soon as this summer, according to the press release. However, individuals will still need to heed public safety guidelines, wear a mask, minimize travel, avoid gatherings and remain at home.
“In this darkest hour, the vaccine gives us a beacon to show the direction we’re headed,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley health officer, in the press release. “The actions and daily habits we each take increase the light on that path and improve safety for all.”