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COVID-19

Vaccine Distribution in Los Angeles County

When can I get the vaccine?

The supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be limited for the first few months. This means that the vaccine will be offered to different groups of people at different times. When enough vaccine is ready, it will be offered to everyone. Please see the phases below for estimated time frames*. The phases will overlap so, for example, a person in Phase 1A may get their second dose of vaccine at the same time as a person in Phase 1B gets their first dose.

Sign up for the Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Email Newsletter and/or get more information by visiting VaccinateLACounty.com.

Phase 1A

All groups in Phase 1A are now being offered vaccine.

Vaccination began in mid-December. It is estimated that everyone in Phase 1A will have been offered at least one dose of vaccine by late January/early February*.

Note: Vaccination is only available to the healthcare workers listed in Phase 1A who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. (Low risk healthcare workers such as administrative support staff WITHOUT routine in-person patient contact, will be offered vaccination in Phase 1B Tier2).


  • Green circles show groups that have been, or are being, offered vaccine
  • Red squares show groups that are waiting to be offered vaccine
Tier 1 Healthcare Workers
How to get vaccinated
  • Healthcare workers and residents of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs)
  • Healthcare workers and residents of other long-term care facilities (facilities that provide medical and personal care to adults, such as assisted living facilities and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals, and special needs group living facilities)
  • Healthcare workers in:
    • Acute care hospitals
    • Acute psychiatric hospitals
    • Correctional facility hospitals
    • Dialysis centers
    • Emergency medical services, including EMTs and Paramedics
    • Infusion/oncology centers
    • Residential and inpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities
    • Residential and inpatient mental health facilities
Tier 2
  • Healthcare Workers in:
    • Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) contracted Short-Term Residential Therapeutic Programs (STRTP) and Transitional Shelter Care Program Facilities (TSCF)
    • Department of Mental Health
    • Home healthcare organizations and home health agencies (in-home supportive service personnel)
    • Intermediate care facilities (for persons who need non-continuous nursing supervision and supportive care)
    • Outpatient substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, mental health facilities, and crisis stabilization units
    • Public Health field staff who have face to face contact with patients/public (e.g. during testing, contact tracing, outbreak investigations)
    • Primary care clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), rural health centers, and correctional facility clinics
    • Urgent care clinics
    • Office of Diversion and Re-entry (ODR)
    • Medical shelters
    • Sheltered and Unsheltered settings who are providing direct clinical care for people experiencing homelessness
    • Field-based community health workers, including promotoras (including those involved with testing, contact tracing, or supportive services to persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19)
    • Regional Centers
    • Outreach workers who have face-to-face contact with people experiencing homelessness
Tier 3
  • Healthcare Workers in:
    • Acupuncturists
    • Chiropractors
    • COVID-19 Testing
    • Death Care (mortuaries)
    • Dental and Other Oral Health Clinics
    • Laboratories
    • Occupational Health
    • Optometry Clinics
    • Pharmacies (if not working in settings at higher tiers)
    • Physical Therapists/Occupational Therapists (if not working in settings at higher tiers)
    • School and University Health Centers
    • Specialty Clinics
    • Speech Therapists
    • Surgery Centers
Phase 1B

Vaccine is not yet available to persons listed in Phase 1B, except for persons age 65 and older.

Persons age 65 and over
How to get vaccinated

Persons age 65 and over are now eligible for vaccination. For the rest of Phase 1B, it is estimated that vaccination will begin in early February and that everyone in this phase should have been offered at least one dose of vaccine by late March*.

The following prioritization is from the California COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

1B Tier 1

  • Persons 65 years and older
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Education and Childcare
    • Emergency services
    • Food and agriculture

1B Tier 2

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Transportation and logistics
    • Industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services
    • Critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk:
    • Incarcerated
    • Homeless
Phase 1C

Vaccine is not yet available to persons listed in Phase 1C.

It is estimated that vaccination will begin for those in Phase 1C in March and that everyone in this phase should have been offered at least one dose of vaccine by late April/early May*.

The following prioritization is from the California COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

  • Persons 50-64 years old
  • People 16-49 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19
  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors:
    • Water and wastewater
    • Defense
    • Energy
    • Chemical and hazardous materials
    • Communications and IT
    • Financial services
    • Government operations / community-based essential functions
Phase 2 (PROPOSED)

Vaccine is not yet available to persons listed in Phase 2.

It is estimated that vaccination will begin for those in Phase 2 by mid-May or early June*.

  • Persons 16-49 years old without high-risk medical conditions

*Note: These timings are estimates and may change according to factors such as vaccine supply and the state prioritization requirements. The phases and tiers will overlap.

Vaccine distribution
Who makes the decisions about how vaccines are distributed?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is an independent panel of medical and public health experts brought together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make recommendations about vaccine policies. The ACIP recommends to the CDC which people should be in each phase. While states often follow the ACIP recommendations, final decisions about when different groups will get the vaccine are made by each state. In California, those decisions are being made by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health refines the state’s plan and decides exactly how each phase of vaccine distribution will be carried out: where vaccines will be given, who will be giving the vaccines, and how the county will make sure everyone has a chance to get a vaccine when it is offered to people in their phase.

How is it decided who gets vaccine and when?

These goals and principles are used to guide decisions about the order in which people are vaccinated

Goals – what we are trying to achieve:

  • Reduce deaths and cases of serious disease
  • Keep key healthcare services and the larger community operating.
  • Limit the extra strain that COVID-19 is having on people with chronic health conditions and people experiencing extreme hardship.

Principles –the guidelines that will help us get to our goals:

  • Do as much good and as little harm as possible. For example, make sure we use the vaccine that comes to Los Angeles County as efficiently as possible AND make sure people don’t have to go to crowded places where they could catch COVID-19 to get the vaccine.
  • Reduce health inequities. This means that the needs of people who experience worse health due to poor living or working conditions are recognized in planning the phases for distribution.
  • Promote justice. This means, for example, making sure richer people can’t buy their way to a place at the head of the line.
  • Promote transparency. In other words, make sure the public has information on every step in the process and knows where they can get more information if they need it.

In addition, there are other things to consider, like how to offer the vaccine in a way that reaches as many of the people in each phase as possible. This is complicated, especially since we don’t want people to gather in big crowds where they can’t be six feet apart when they get vaccinated.

Who is being vaccinated first?

Healthcare workers and people who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are being offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Healthcare workers are at high risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and getting sick. Healthcare workers include clinical staff such as doctors, nurses, and therapists as well as people who work in other areas like laboratories and hospital environmental services. Vaccinating these people first protects them, but it also helps to keep the healthcare system working and helps protect patients from getting COVID-19.
  • People who live in long-term care facilities (for example, nursing homes) are at high risk of COVID-19. This is because they live together and are often older adults with medical conditions. If they get infected, they are more likely to get very sick and even die. Vaccinating people who live in these settings will save lives.
What about children?

Children will not be offered vaccine in the near future. The Pfizer vaccine has only been authorized by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for people age 16 and over and the Moderna vaccine is only authorized for people age 18 and over.

How is vaccine being given?

Current situation – residents of long- term care facilities and healthcare workers

  • Healthcare workers who work for hospitals in LA County are being vaccinated by their employers.
  • Healthcare workers and residents of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are being vaccinated onsite by the facility staff, Public Health, community, or healthcare partners. 
  • Healthcare workers and residents of other long-term care facilities with congregate living, such as assisted living, will be vaccinated onsite by staff from Walgreens and CVS thorough a federal pharmacy program.
  • Public Health and county, city, community, and healthcare partners are working together to vaccinate other healthcare workers in community clinics and special vaccination sites.

Note: Healthcare workers include clinical staff such as doctors, nurses, and therapists as well as people who work in other areas that may put them at risk like laboratories or hospital environmental health services. Only healthcare workers at high and medium risk of getting COVID-19 are currently being offered vaccination.

Future groups of people

When vaccine is available to other groups of people, it will likely be given at:

  • Primary care clinics
  • Pharmacies
  • Some workplaces, and
  • Special vaccination sites run by Public Health and county, city, community, and healthcare partners
What should I do while I wait to be vaccinated?

Follow the prevention guidelines you’ve heard about since the pandemic started. You should cover your mouth and nose with a face covering whenever you are around others. Avoid close contact with other people outside your household, especially if they could be sick. Practice physical distancing and wash your hands often. See the guidance for reducing your risk. And note: you still have to follow these steps after you get both doses of vaccine.

More information


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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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