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South Coast Health Official Thinks COVID-19 Vaccine May Not Be Widely Available Until May

They are the big COVID-19 questions on a lot of people’s minds.  Will researchers be able to develop an effective vaccine, and if so, when will we get it?

One of the Central and South Coast’s top health officials believes a vaccine will work, but he believes it will be next spring before it is widely available to the public.

Dr. Robert Levin is Ventura County’s Public Health Officer.  Dr. Levin believes researchers are on track to develop an effective vaccine.  He says teams around the world are working on the effort.

Dr. Levin says the issue isn’t just developing the vaccine.  The version under development requires special handling, because it has to be stored at temperatures well below what you find in normal refrigeration systems.  And, there’s the other issue of making enough to supply the world during a global pandemic.

He thinks there will some vaccine available in the next few months, which will initially need to go to front line medical personnel and first responders.  Then, vaccinations will go to those in high risk groups, and essential workers.

Dr. Levin says while he doesn't have inside information, from what he knows it will probably be next May before the vaccine is widely available to the public.

And, the Ventura County Public Health official says getting flu shots are even more critical than usual this season.  Dr. Levin says while the vaccinations might not be a factor in prevent COVID-19, they will help keep people out of the hospital, freeing up space for seriously ill people with the virus. 

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.