Butte County, Calif. - The incoming Biden administration announced a plan Friday to make it a priority to distribute the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone.
That's counter to the Trump administration's plan for holding back enough vaccine doses to guarantee booster shots to those who got the first dose.
Butte County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Bernstein told Action News now it's a smart move, especially in light of a new report by the World Health Organization that also recommends vaccinating as many people as possible with a first dose.
Dr. Bernstein said clinical trials show that "The Pfizer vaccine after one dose, between 2 and 3 weeks after the first dose, is already 89% effective. After the second dose, it's 95% effective. 89% is pretty good."
He also said that the World Health Organization now says it's okay to wait longer between the first and second doses.
Dr. Bernstein said he's disappointed with the limited supply of vaccine so far, "President-to-be Biden's suggestion that the availability of doses be distributed now will help everywhere, to address supply chain shortages that are affecting our ability to immunize our population."
The Doctor is hoping a change in policy will help speed up supply distribution and get more people vaccinated sooner.
But he warns that you should still wear a mask and practice coronavirus prevention after you're vaccinated because it's still not known whether you could still spread the virus. He said that won't change until 80% of Americans are immunized.
Dr. Bernstein went on to say that vaccine hesitancy is one of the most serious public health problems in Butte County, California, the U.S., and all over the world. People objecting to what he calls safe and effective childhood vaccines and the new COVID-19 vaccines.
"Those people out there hesitating are endangering themselves, their children, grandparents, friends, families, and co-workers. I hope everybody's going to go out and get the vaccination as soon as they're eligible, as soon as we have the supply to meet their needs," said Bernstein.