3 New Groups to Receive Covid-19 Vaccines in California in Coming Weeks: Education and childcare workers, Food and Agriculture Workers, and Emergency Services Workers
Apparently, the harm caused by a young teacher refusing to teach in an in-person classroom is greater than the harm caused by many people being confined to their homes because their age or underlying health conditions make exposure to Covid-19 a possibly fatal event.
February 15, 2021
California Governor Newsom announced the opening of a new group of workers who will be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. As part of Phase 1B Tier 1, education and childcare workers, food and agriculture workers, and emergency services workers will be able to sign up to get vaccinated. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said they plan to start these vaccinations in two to three weeks.
Decisions regarding who gets prioritized to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, regarded as over 90% effective, come from the national Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. They claim the intent of their recommendations is "to ensure equitable access to vaccination among people at highest risk for severe disease and those who perform essential services and functions." The allocation of the vaccine should "maximize the benefits of the vaccination to both individual recipients and the population overall."
This reasoning is what leads our government to prioritize populations of workers, who may include young people not at great risk of adverse effects in contracting Covid-19. Apparently, the harm caused by a young teacher refusing to teach in an in-person classroom is greater than the harm caused by many people being confined to their homes because their age or underlying health conditions make exposure to Covid-19 a possibly fatal event.
We are unsure who "emergency services workers" are or how they differ from the frontline workers in the health, fire, and law enforcement who have already been offered the vaccine. But differ they must.
As for workers in the food and agriculture business, it is high time they were offered the vaccine. Their exposure to the public and each other makes their chances of contracting Covid-19 far higher than for people in other sectors. County data show more workers in these fields have contracted Covid-19 than in any other field. Even for young people who work in this sector, the fact that their chances of contracting coronavirus are so much higher mean more of them, proportionately, will get sick. The more of them who get sick will lead to a sum total of more people dying.
Unfortunately, the county does not expect this vaccination process to proceed very quickly. They estimate 2.4 million individuals fit into the three categories of workers Newsom wants vaccinated. (668,000 of those are in education.) With a predicted 200,000 doses of vaccine delivered per week, only half of which can go to first shots, it would take 24 weeks for these sectors to become completely vaccinated. That's six months. Unless production and distribution of the vaccine gets vastly expanded, the goal of the state's population becoming completely vaccinated by summer is nothing but a fantasy.
And the State's vulnerable populations of the elderly, the middle-aged and those with serious underlying medical conditions will be gambling the virus won't get to them before the vaccine does for at least six more months.