As hospitals across California approach their limit, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration endorsed emergency use authorization of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Widening vaccine availability
“We have been working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Operation Warp Speed to prepare for the distribution of [our vaccine],” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said. “We look forward to getting our vaccine to people in the U.S. to help address this ongoing public health emergency.”
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which requires refrigeration between minus-112 and minus-76 degrees Fahrenheit, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator (between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit). Though a positive development, vaccine distribution will not yet have an impact on the surge in cases.
“It’s a very special day, I feel euphoric. I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. I feel very lucky to have had the vaccine.”
— NHS London (@NHSEnglandLDN) December 16, 2020
California’s status continues to worsen
Only Northern California has not triggered a regional stay-at-home order. Yesterday the Bay Area’s ICU capacity dipped to 13.1 percent, setting off an order that will stay imposed until January 8. San Joaquin Valley ICU capacity is at 0.7 percent, while Southern California is at 0. This does not mean there are absolutely no ICU beds available in the region. As explained by NBC, “the state adjusts the percentage downward if counties have a higher-than-expected ratio of COVID-19 patients occupying ICU spaces.”
With California experiencing its fastest increase in cases yet, the CDC urges people to protect yourself, family, friends and community by following its prevention guide. If not, the healthcare system could be overwhelmed even more, leading to catastrophic outcomes. Among others, simple measures include staying home except for essential needs/activities, wearing a cloth face mask in public, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and following your local public health guidelines.
“Tragically, more than 20,000 families will have an empty seat at their holiday tables this year” Dr. Erica Pan, acting state public health officer, said. “I know how painful it will be to miss out on holiday celebrations, but the only way we can end this heartbreak is to protect one another by staying apart and finding alternative ways to show our love this year.”
Feeling anxious, stressed, or lonely is understandable during these uncertain times. CalHOPE offers connections to resources for your mental wellness. Call the Warm Line at (833) 317-HOPE (4673) or visit the website at https://t.co/qOCUVTcGH8 #CalHOPE #CaliforniaForAll pic.twitter.com/vYZeV8MkbF
— Department of Health Care Services (@DHCS_CA) December 18, 2020