Siskiyou County could get some coronavirus vaccine doses by next week. What's next?

Matt Brannon Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald

Siskiyou County officials say the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine are expected to arrive in the county next week.

"We are anticipating the arrival of the Pfizer vaccine next week and another allocation of 300 of the Moderna vaccine the week after that," said Siskiyou County Public Health spokesperson Angelica Cook.

The first people to receive the vaccinations will be health care workers and long-term care residents, Cook said.

"The latter group includes those in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar long-term care settings for those who are older or medically vulnerable, according to the state vaccine guidelines," Cook said.

She added that in the first months of the new year, allocations to Siskiyou County "will be sufficient enough to ... to vaccinate the rest of the county's populations."

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In a key step toward approval, a committee of leading U.S. vaccine scientists on Thursday recommended the Food and Drug Administration authorize the Pfizer vaccine for use. After an eight-hour public hearing, the independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17 to 4 with 1 abstention to recommend the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech called BNT162b2, USA TODAY reported.

The news comes as Siskiyou County battles a spike in cases that began in November. The county reported seven coronavirus deaths since 

It could be months before the average person has access to the vaccine. USA TODAY has reported that after prioritizing high-risk individuals, the general population could start getting vaccinated in April.

The CDC's website states doses bought with taxpayer dollars will be given to Americans at no cost. However, vaccine providers can charge fees for administering the shot.

Healthcare workers are anticipated to be the first in the area to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Aside from the 1,950 doses for Shasta County use, Mercy Medical Center in Redding will serve as a storage site by holding 975 Pfizer doses for other less populous counties in the North State. The Pfizer vaccine will come in boxes of 975 doses. 

State authorities determine how many vaccine doses each county is allocated based on population.

Side effects are possible

As some in the United Kingdom are vaccinated, regulators are looking into reports of allergic reactions from two people who received the Pfizer vaccine Tuesday. In the meantime they're telling people to skip the vaccine if they have a history of serious allergic reactions. 

Allergic reactions can occur with numerous vaccines and experts say they are not unexpected, according to the Associated Press. In the Pfizer-BioNTech study of 42,000 people, the rate was about the same in those who got the coronavirus vaccine versus those who got a dummy shot.

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As far as other side effects, most people who get a coronavirus vaccine are likely to endure some, particularly after a second dose. All three candidate vaccines reported mild or moderate side effects, mostly pain at the injection site, fatigue, and aching muscles and joints for a day or two, according to USA Today. 

"A sore arm and feeling crummy for a day or two is a lot better than COVID," said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of health policy and of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Who will be the first to get COVID-19 vaccines?

Matt Brannon covers politics, the criminal justice system and breaking news for the Record Searchlight. Follow him on Twitter @MattBrannon_RS