Contra Costa committee creates ethical framework for COVID-19 vaccine
Contra Costa County, California – As Contra Costa County prepares to receive initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine, county officials convened a committee to create an allocation approach.
According to Dr. Chris Farnitano, the county’s health officer, the Ethical and Equitable Allocations Committee will “ensure a fair, transparent and evidence-based approach to access during the early stages of availability.”
The committee, which includes stakeholders with various backgrounds, will critically evaluate federal and state guidelines for vaccine allocation and recommend priorities during the phased allocation process. The committee endorses the guidelines outlined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Advisory Committee on Immunization practices and California Department of Public Health.
The allocation process will balance three ethical objectives: protecting the population’s health by maximizing benefit in the form of reducing mortality and serious morbidity, respecting individuals and groups at highest risk of health disparities and protecting against systemic inequality by promoting equity in access.
In accordance with federal and state guidelines, Contra Costa County recommends offering vaccines to front-line staff in high exposure settings during this first phase of allocation.
“The ripple effect of this allocation strategy highlights the interconnectedness of our community,” Farnitano said.
If there are not enough doses to reach all front-line workers in this current vaccine allocation phase, the committee will recommend a prioritization order.
Despite vaccines being distributed, it is still imperative that the community continue to adhere to hand washing, social distancing, masking and other safe practices to decrease disease transmission.