Berkeley administers 92% of allocated vaccines, exceeds statewide distribution

Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine
U.S. Secretary of Defense/Creative Commons
The city of Berkeley is currently in Phase 1a of its distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, prioritizing local health care workers and individuals living in long-term care facilities. Once this phase is complete, the city will move onto Phase 1b, which prioritizes older individuals and those in professions with high exposure to the coronavirus. (Photo by U.S. Secretary of Defense under CC BY 2.0.)

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Amid concerns about insufficient COVID-19 vaccination rollout, Berkeley has administered 92% of its limited supply as of Jan. 15, exceeding the statewide distribution of less than a third of vaccines.

The quantity of vaccines received from the city is determined by the state of California and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. So far, the city has received 1,100 vaccines and continues to operate in Phase 1a, prioritizing local health care workers and individuals living in long-term care facilities.

However, other vaccination sites at Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente have proceeded to Phase 1b, providing injections to those above the ages of 75 and 65, respectively.

“While the supply is low, we are excited that we are in this phase where we are moving forward with this critical tool to help fight the pandemic,” said city spokesperson Matthai Chakko in an email.

Once the city vaccinates everyone prioritized through Phase 1a, it will begin providing vaccines to anyone older than the age of 75, as older individuals are more likely to experience complications associated with the coronavirus, according to an email released by Mayor Jesse Arreguín. Individuals who are at least 75 years old account for 60% of COVID-19 deaths, Arreguín added in his email.

As a part of Phase 1b, individuals working in occupations with a higher risk of exposure to the coronavirus — ranging from education to transportation — will also be vaccinated, according to the city website’s COVID-19 vaccine page. It will also provide vaccines for those living in “congregate settings,” including those who are homeless or incarcerated.

In Phase 1c, individuals between the ages of 50 and 64 are expected to receive a vaccine, along with people older than 16 with disabilities or underlying health conditions that heighten their risk of experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

It is also anticipated that everyone older than the age of 16 will have access to the vaccine during the summer, according to the city website.

Contact Mallika Seshadri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SeshadriMallika.