When will the general public get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Dr. James Keany from Providence Mission Viejo Hospital says 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses are expected this month and another 30 million in January should begin to take care of those in our healthcare and high-risk communities.

As for everyone else, Keany says, “definitely by March and April, this should look like a flu vaccine where you can go into your local provider and get the vaccine.”

Local providers are expected to include a number of neighborhood pharmacies including CVS, which sent FOX 11 a statement saying, “We have an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide vaccines in our 10,000 CVS pharmacy locations which could be as soon as March 2021.”

A number of other doctors told FOX 11 that the COVID-19 vaccines could be available for the general community between March and June 2021. But, Dr. Thomas Yadegar, a pulmonologist and medical director of the intensive care unit at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center says, “it’s hard to anticipate when exactly it will be available, but if you think of the timeline and the fact that we’re going to have more and more vaccines by more and more manufacturers over the next month or month and a half. Then, hopefully, we should have a critical mass where we can have enough vaccines available to where we can start vaccinating as much of the population as possible.”

The U.S. Department of Human and Human Services says in a news release that 19 chains have joined the effort to vaccinate. Among them in our area:

  • CVS
  • Albertsons, including Vons and Pavilions
  • Costco
  • Good Neighbor Pharmacies
  • Rite Aid
  • Kroger/Ralphs
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

As for hospitals and doctor's offices, they’re still working on that.

Dr. Yadegar says storage will be an issue.

“Obviously for certain vaccines, there are restrictions," He added. "Pfizer vaccine would be very difficult to give in a doctor’s office that don’t have the type of freezer they would require.”

But, to Dr. Keany, necessity could prove to be the mother of invention as the old phrase goes. He says, “I think they could do it in high school gymnasiums. I think they could do it in churches. They could do it in parking lots.”

But, no word on whether any of that is under consideration.

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