Feb 8, 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript February 8
California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 press conference on February 8, 2021 in San Diego. Read the transcript of his coronavirus briefing speech here.
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Mayor Todd Gloria: (00:00)
Is the quickest way out of this public health and economic crisis. Do it for yourself. Do it for your family. Do it for your neighbors. Do it for your friends who are vulnerable from underlying health conditions. Do it for your city. Do it for all of us.
Mayor Todd Gloria: (00:16)
With that, it is my pleasure to introduce Erik Greupner, the CEO of the San Diego Padres, and our hosts this morning. Erik?
Erik Greupner: (00:29)
Thank you, Mayor Gloria. I want to formally welcome Governor Gavin Newsom to Petco Park. We’re happy to have you and thank you for taking the time to visit San Diego today.
Erik Greupner: (00:40)
A month ago, I received a phone call from the CEO of UC San Diego Health, Patty Maysent, who’s with us here today, asking if we could be helpful in setting up the first vaccination super station in our region. It was a quick yes, and our operations team worked tirelessly over the next 72 hours with our great partners at the state, the county, the city, and UC San Diego Health to put together the first vaccination super station in California.
Erik Greupner: (01:10)
Last week, we surpassed 100,000 vaccinations here on site. In fact, one out of every three vaccinations through last week that had been administered in San Diego have occurred here at Petco Park. This would not have been possible without an unprecedented and excellent level of collaboration with our partners, the state, the county, the city, and UC San Diego Health.
Erik Greupner: (01:35)
The Padres are proud and honored to play a role in helping to make this possible and successful. Vaccinating San Diegans and every Californian will move us past this pandemic and save lives. It’s been a passion project for our employees here at the Padres. The joy that it has brought to us as an organization to know that we are making a difference in helping our community during such a critical time has been outstanding.
Erik Greupner: (02:01)
We hope that the template we have built here at Petco Park can continue to be used throughout California as our state, local and city leaders work around the clock to ensure all Californians have access to vaccinations.
Erik Greupner: (02:16)
Now we want to introduce our San Diego County Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, who continues to lead our region’s response to the pandemic. Dr. Wooten?
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (02:33)
Thank you, Mr. Greupner. I want to start by thanking you, Governor Newsom. What a pleasure it is to have you here in San Diego County, especially at the site of our very first vaccination super station, which opened Monday, January 11th. Thank you for your commitment to protecting the public’s health as we manage our way through this pandemic.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (02:57)
Everyone is working overtime, working hard and quickly to stop COVID-19. This includes our Board of Supervisors, our County of San Diego employees, and the Health and Human Services Agency led by our director, Nick Macchione.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (03:17)
The public/private partnership behind the Petco super station is especially amazing. Within days of hearing about this idea from Chair Fletcher, an opening event was held. This would not have happened without the commitment of the following partners with the county. This includes UC San Diego Health and its CEO, Patty Maysent, the San Diego Padres and the team president, Erik Greupner, and the city of San Diego and Mayor Todd Gloria. Each and every partner was and remains critical.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (03:55)
Since Petco opened as the region’s first stupid station, public health has used an equity lens for the continued expansion of local vaccination sites, as is seen in the graphic that we will have available. Using the state’s equity tool as our guide, we now have eight county facilitated community vaccination sites, two hospital supported sites, an expanding mobile operation using Cal Fire and local first responder teams, and four super stations.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (04:31)
Like Petco, in central San Diego, the other super stations are also public/private partnerships and include Sharp Healthcare at the Chula Vista Shopping Center, which is open in South County. CSU San Marcos, Tri-City Medical and Palomar Health are the county partners in the north region, and Sharp Healthcare and the Grossmont Shopping Center created a super station for Lamesa and the east region.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (05:02)
But the county is not done. A fifth coastal super station is in the works with Scripps Health at the fairgrounds, the state Fairgrounds for Del Mar in the north coastal region.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (05:15)
We have lots of work ahead of us to meet the vaccine needs in our entire county. We cannot do this without support from the state, as well as more vaccine.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (05:29)
Governor Newsom, I want to thank you again for taking the time to be here in San Diego County today. Thank you immensely.
Dr. Wilma Wooten: (05:36)
Now, please welcome to the podium our County Chair of the Board of Supervisors, Chair Nathan Fletcher.
Nathan Fletcher: (05:54)
Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Wooten. Dr. Wooten, San Diego appreciates your poise throughout this pandemic. And as someone who has had the pleasure to work with you every single day for a year, I appreciate your hard work and commitment.
Nathan Fletcher: (06:06)
Mayor Gloria, it is truly wonderful to now have a mayor committed to doing the difficult work, to partner with the county and with the state in confronting COVID.
Nathan Fletcher: (06:16)
Governor, San Diego appreciates you and we welcome you.
Nathan Fletcher: (06:18)
And Erik and Peter and the Padres, we beat LA in setting the super station up. We are beating LA and administration of vaccines. We have set the stage for the expectation for the coming season. And all joking aside… Well, we’re not joking. We really do want to beat the Dodgers.
Nathan Fletcher: (06:38)
But Governor, you told counties to get vaccines in arms. You gave us a clear direction. You told us to do it fast, and we heard you and we responded. Today in San Diego County, we surpassed half a million vaccines administered. That is a rate greater than any other large county in California.
Nathan Fletcher: (06:56)
And while we’re at it highlighting one of our super stations, as been noted, there are four that are operating right now as we speak throughout our county administering vaccines quickly and safely. These four superstations are additive to more than a dozen other community locations, locations embedded in the communities based on the Healthy Places Equity Index and our case rates, and they are there to help communities that have been most impacted and hardest to reach.
Nathan Fletcher: (07:27)
We’ve reached more than 1000 of our longterm care and skilled nursing facilities, with the remainder scheduled in the coming days. We have phone lines that are open for seniors that might not have internet access or technology challenges. We’ve launched programs to transport seniors who need help with transportation. And if they can’t leave their homes, then we’re going to go to them.
Nathan Fletcher: (07:47)
Efforts are underway for our [inaudible 00:07:49], our community health workers to be able to get people slotted directly into vaccines for the communities most impacted because all of this is with an eye towards equity, with a particular focus on the Latino community. In San Diego County, 30% of our population is Latino, but almost 60% of our COVID cases are Latino. And I want to commend and appreciate Supervisor Nora Vargas for her leadership on ensuring that these communities have access to the vaccine.
Nathan Fletcher: (08:16)
And everything we do is collaborative, the county, the state, the cities, the healthcare partners. At this case, it’s UC San Diego and Patty Maysent, but working with almost all of our healthcare partners at other sites, and we move fast because the vaccine offers the path out, not only to save lives, but to get our lives back, to get our small businesses open, our kids back in school.
Nathan Fletcher: (08:39)
Governor, we appreciate your focus and your effort on trying to get our kids safely back in school. And Governor, those of us that have dealt with this every single day appreciate how you’ve led us through a long and difficult year, a year that has challenged us, a year that has tested us, a year that has divided us, a year that has required difficult and unprecedented action to meet a situation the likes of which we have not seen it over 100 years.
Nathan Fletcher: (09:07)
Governor, you’ve had an impossible job. You faced more challenges, truly impossible decisions, often having to choose between a bad option and a worse option, but throughout it all, you never gave up. And I want the people of San Diego to know that you’ve been there for us. You’ve been there at all hours of the day and night to take my call. You, Dr. Ghaly, your entire team, you’ve handled the constant pressure and ever-changing situation with grace and compassion, a willingness to listen, and when needed, a willingness to adapt. And throughout this full year, your entire team has been there with support, encouragement, advice, and partnership. You never stopped fighting for California.
Nathan Fletcher: (09:48)
And make no mistake, we’re still in the fight against COVID, but with cases down and vaccinations up, we are cautiously optimistic that we’re turning a corner and that better days are ahead.
Nathan Fletcher: (09:58)
Governor, we’re thrilled to have you join us here in San Diego. We appreciate everything you’ve done for the last year. Please join me in welcoming the Governor of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:08)
[inaudible 00:10:08], Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Supervisor. Thank you all of you for the privilege of this opportunity. And let me just pick up, Supervisor Fletcher, on what you just said regarding the cases and vaccines. I want to quickly update you on where we are in this pandemic, and then I want to congratulate each and every one of you for the privilege of not only being here today, but the opportunity to highlight and showcase this first in the state of California mass vaccination site.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:35)
Let’s begin with an update on the numbers today. We have just over 10,000 new cases of positive cases of people with COVID-19. I want to put that in perspective. One month ago on January 8th, 30 days ago, we had over 50,000 cases. 10,000 cases today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:54)
One month ago today on January 8th, we had a 14% positivity rate. Today, 5.0. 14% to 5%, 50,000 cases down to 10,000 cases over the course of the last 30 days. A 34% reduction over a two week period in the number of people hospitalized and a 25% reduction of the number of people in ICU. So everything that should be up is up, and I’ll get to vaccines in a moment, everything that should be down is down as it relates to case counts, positivity rates, people being hospitalized, people in our ICUs. That is encouraging news indeed.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:40)
The vaccinations however, we can’t move fast enough. We are sober and mindful of the scarcity that is the number of available vaccines in the United States of America. Nonetheless, we are not naive about our responsibility here in the state of California to move these vaccines out of the freezers and into people’s arms.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:01)
So far in the state of California, 4.65 million-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:02)
… arms. So far in the State of California, 4.65 million people, just shy of 4.7 million people, have been administered a dose of the vaccine, either Moderna or Pfizer. We want to get these numbers up, but I should just make this point. Yesterday, we reported 197,000 vaccines administered, roughly 200,000. That’s a double where we were just a few weeks ago, triple where we were a month or so ago. So we’re making progress. We’re improving the rate of the ministration day in and day out, but we can’t do that at the state level without partners at the local level.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:37)
So let me focus now on why I came here to San Diego, and that was to acknowledge leadership, demonstrable leadership. Leadership that now is truly leading the State of California, San Diego, the first county, first city to put a site together like this. Success leaves clues. You inspired others all throughout the State of California, including the LA Dodgers, including folks in Northern California. Levi Stadium in Santa Clara where the 49ers play, they’ll be opening their mass vaccination site tomorrow. Cal Expo and a number of state fairgrounds have now done the same.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:16)
This is not exclusive, meaning nation sites are not all mass sites. Still the vast majority of the network that you were very familiar with when you get your annual flu shot, that’s the backbone of our vaccination distribution. But nonetheless, these sites are important and impactful, and certainly here in San Diego, as was highlighted by the Mayor and others, that a third now of the vaccines in this county have been administered just here at this site gives you an example of the potency and power of scale in terms of the efficient distribution and administration of the vaccine.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:55)
Of course, we talk about efficiency, we talk about throughput, but we also, and Dr. Wilmer, I appreciate you mentioning this, we thank you for acknowledging the issue of equity. As always, that’s part of the three-legged stool. Not only we want fast and efficient, but we want equitable distribution of the vaccine. So we recognize we have more work to do in that space, more work to do to make sure we’re truly representative, not only as it relates to people that can access a vehicle to access sites like this, or access mass transit to access a site like this, but to make sure we go where people are. Many people simply can’t get to a large vaccination site like this. And so just last week we invested in over 110 community-based organizations tens of millions of dollars to invest in a framework of focusing on equity, community outreach, reaching the trusted messengers, to encourage people that may be hesitant about the administration or receiving the administration of the vaccine, encouraging them to take advantage of not only sites like this, but other sites in their community.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:04)
We partnered last week in The Equity Lens with the Biden Administration, the first state in the United States to invest in partnership with FEMA, our federal partners, the Office of Emergency Services, the Biden Administration. We announced where the Oakland As play their games in Northern California, in Alameda County, the first site. We’re also expanding that to Cal State LA, and we’ll be announcing in the next number of days a new site in the Central Valley as well. That framework is exclusively targeted at equity. It’s a partnership with the federal government that does not take away from existing allocations of vaccines and is additive to our collective efforts. We’ll continue to do more, and we recognize that we have work to do to be better in terms of making sure these remaining surplus vaccines that are still in freezers all across the state are quickly and efficiently administered.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:02)
And that’s why I like this competition of sorts. I appreciate a Chair Fletcher framing this in an enlightened sense, not a race to the bottom, a race to the top. More transparency, more accountability, county by county, San Diego leading the way. Mayor, you should be proud. Supervisor Vargas, you should be proud. Chair Fletcher, you should certainly be very, very proud of that demonstrable leadership. We want to encourage the same in every county in the state. Some, candidly, are way behind. Some are not where they need to be, and we need to call that out. We need to provide support. No cheap shots, but we also need to provide a sense of urgency that the public deserves and back that up by reallocating supply.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:50)
I’ll give you an example. Just last week, we reallocated close to 100,000 doses that were in the hand of one of our largest pharmacies here in the State of California. We were able to quickly and efficiently and effectively move those doses out, because frankly they were sitting on those doses. We’re going through every provider, every single system, and making sure when there are days or weeks where the vaccine in the freezer or refrigerator, that we’re moving those out and getting them into people’s arms and getting them out to the diverse communities all across the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:25)
On genomics, let me just quickly update you. I’ll close here in a moment. We’ll of course answer any questions. I want to just update folks on some of the genomics testing. Well deserved, well recognized here in San Diego, leading research, leading cutting edge research in genomics happening in and around this community. Mr. Mayor, you should be very proud of this. Because of San Diego’s leadership, we’ve been able to provide at least the sequencing for over 12,200 genomes, and we’ve been able to identify 153 UK variants. 153 cases of the UK variant are here in the State of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:03)
Now, San Diegans, you understand this well, but 138 of them have been identified here in San Diego. Five counties currently. However, we have six additional cases in addition to the 153 that we’re making a determination of whether or not they are indeed a UK variant. If that’s the case, we have two additional counties, total of seven, that likely the UK variant has spread. No Brazilian variants yet, no South African variants. Yet we do however have a West coast variant. It’s two versions [inaudible 00:18:37]. 1429, 1427. Neither here nor there. 1,203 of the West coast variants have been identified. So no new variants identified again from Brazil or South Africa. 153 from the UK. West coast, a little over 1,200.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:57)
Briefly, I know many of you want to know who is getting these vaccines. They want to know the demographics. We talk in terms of equity. Who’s actually receiving the vaccines? We’ve been working with the counties. San Diego, thank you, Supervisor. All of you have been leading the way in terms of providing that access. You have a dashboard that’s out. Not every county, however, is doing that. So we’ve been working with the county and local health officers for the last few weeks, and Dr. Galley assures me later this week, we will put out our preliminary results as it relates to the demographics of the administration of the vaccine. I should note what we will put out likely will not truly be representative of where we’re going, because the first cohorts that have gotten these vaccines have been cohorts that are not truly representative of the diversity of this state. And so we clearly are mindful of that and not only am I previewing this as an example, but obviously as an imperative for improvement for all of us across this state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:59)
And the other thing we want to update you on is this third party agreement. We’ll be moving, and we are on schedule for February 15th to move forward with our third party administration, the partnership at cost with two partners that are well-known here in the state of California, Blue Shield and Kaiser. That contract, we will make public when it’s finalized. We anticipate that happening later this week, and we anticipate moving forward, as I noted, in exactly a week, this time next week, on February 15th.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:33)
Final words. We are now, because of the Biden Administration, finally having a framework of a national plan. We’re able to look into the future with a little bit more certainty in terms of the vaccines that will arrive here in the State of California. Last week, we received just over one million vaccine doses, about 1,060,000. 594, 000 of them were first doses. Just 594,000, in a state of 40 million, new doses came into the state from the federal government. Simply not enough. Everybody recognized that, the President on down.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:17)
Next week, meaning this week, by the end of this week, roughly the same number of doses are anticipated to have arrived. Slightly higher, by a few thousand. Next week, we anticipate another a hundred plus thousand in addition to what we’ve received in the last few weeks. So all told, a little over a million, 1,100,000, 1,200,000 doses coming into the state. We need to see that ramped up. We’re going to need to see more doses coming into the State of California in order to keep these mass sites operational, and to keep things moving.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:54)
As Chair Fletcher told me a moment ago, you could double the output here just at Petco if they had more certainty of supply. And again, the state’s not holding any. We are the intermediary in terms of the distribution. There’s none in any state supplies. The state doesn’t receive vaccines. These vaccines go directly through a provider network. They go through the counties, and we are encouraging every day, working very collaboratively, encouraging the Biden Administration to do everything in their power not only to accelerate the distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but encouraging, we hope, with the appropriate level of scrutiny, that the FDA will move forward with the emergency use authorization on the J&J vaccine. We can anticipate that by the end of this month, and potentially receiving, as J&J asserts, upwards of a hundred million doses nationwide as early as June. But that’s not early enough, and we all recognize that.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:56)
So we’re doing everything in our power to draw down more federal support, state moving to address all the barriers we possibly can in terms of the application and distribution and administration of these vaccines. And I’m here just celebrating success, and humbly, thank you. This county, San Diego County, this city, San Diego City, remarkable leadership, new mayor, new energetic Board of Supervisors, incredible health team, remarkable partnership, not just with the Padres, but our state’s own UCSD. Few partners more efficient, effective, more transparent and accountable than UCSD. I want to just congratulate their partnership and their incredible work to date here for our state and for literally hundreds of thousands of Californians that reside in this community.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:56)
So with that, we’re of course here to answer any questions.
Speaker 1: (24:02)
Hello, Governor. My name-
Paul Sisson: (24:03)
Hello Governor. My name is Paul [Sisson 00:24:05], I’m a reporter with the San Diego Union Tribune here in San Diego. I’m at the narrow end of the funnel today in terms of all of the media questions that have come in or emails. I’m going to go ahead and ask them out one at a time. We have received quite a few about vaccination of police officers and teachers and lots of folks want to know what the state might be doing to accelerate or bring in a group of workers who will find themselves very much out interfacing with the public every day.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:33)
Those cohorts are in our tier status. It provides flexibility. Again, flexibility is challenging when there is scarcity and I am mindful of that in terms of the prioritization of tiers. 75 and over, 65 and over, frontline healthcare workers, considering the frame always of vaccinating the vaccinators as our top priority. In that frame in those tiers we also have teachers and we have members of law enforcement where there is flexibility. The challenge is self-evident in each and every county, they have different capacity issues, different demographics, different issues in terms of availability of the vaccine and the number of people that they have prioritized within those tiers but the state as a statewide framework has provided guidelines so that we can address that and allow for local decisions to be made.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:31)
That said, we are working as we speak throughout this weekend including Super Bowl Sunday. We’re working with the legislature and have been for weeks and weeks now to try to get our schools safely open in the state of California. It is my desire to get our schools safely open as quickly as we can, safely open as quickly as we can, particularly for our young children, particularly children with special needs, fostered, homeless, youth, kids that don’t have access to devices. We start to K-2, get up to K-6. I’m confident we can do this safely. I appreciate the CDC’s concurrence in that frame. Dr. Fauci, the Biden administration, we’re working with the legislature on an early action package. We hope to get there this week. We can announce some of that progress. It includes, this is a point to your question, it includes prioritization framework to get our teachers vaccinated. We are prioritizing our teachers. We want to clarify that further and that will be part of what we hope to announce in the next … Well I don’t want to preview anything, but announce very, very shortly in terms of the deal with the California legislature.
Paul Sisson: (26:47)
A follow-up Governor if I may. Are you saying that the state will not move to an age-based criteria for vaccinating teachers and other frontline workers? Originally I remember a few weeks ago you were talking about moving to an age-based criteria entirely for the state.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:05)
The state has standardized an age-based criteria at 65 and over, we did that a number of weeks ago and that’s the baseline of the guidelines that we have put out here in the state. It’s part of that Phase 1, 1A, 1B, within that phase, 1A, 1B includes 65 and over, but it also includes those other essential workers, healthcare workers, ENTs, paramedics, includes our teachers, includes law enforcement, includes a spectrum of individuals including farm workers and critical food workers in our state as well.
Paul Sisson: (27:38)
Thank you. This next question is from Angela Hart of Kaiser Health News. Will Blue Shield be in charge of allocating doses of vaccine? How much discretion will they have for deciding where those doses are allocated and what will the state’s involvement be?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:54)
Yeah, we’ll socialize the details of the contract later this week. We are finalizing them, we are on track again to formalize our third party agreement with Blue Shield and Kaiser on the 15th. We will provide those details in the coming days and we’re working all of those issues out. The number one issue for me is not again only speed and efficiency, more transparency, more accountability, but also making sure that the equity lens is truly advanced and that goes to the question and that goes deep to the contract as well.
Paul Sisson: (28:31)
Thank you. This next one is from Matt Hoffman of KPBS here in San Diego. In terms of equity, does the state plan to change how vaccinations are administered by prioritizing via zip code for example. Also, what is the plan to get homebound seniors not living in group settings vaccinations?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:51)
I’m going to ask Chair Fletcher to talk [inaudible 00:28:53] we were literally walking over here talking specifically about that.
Chair Fletcher: (29:01)
Thank you Governor. What we’re doing at least in San Diego County is for seniors who don’t have access to the Zoom technology, they can 211 and they can help make the appointment. We also have mobile teams that are going out not only to longterm care facilities but are beginning to go to senior living complexes, apartment complexes and others and we have a system in place for someone who is truly homebound who cannot leave their home where we can go specifically to them and do that.
Chair Fletcher: (29:28)
Obviously we can move faster if people are able to get to one of the super stations or one of the community-based points of distribution, but for those who can’t, we are here locally and I suspect other counties are doing the same, coming up with systems to ensure that we can reach those seniors really well.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:44)
Just want to remind folks, the partnership in the skilled nursing facilities, the assisted living facilities, the seniors in congregate facilities, all again part of our [inaudible 00:29:56] that we put out in addition to the 65 and over cohort. The partnership advancing those efforts directly is CVS and Walgreens in partnership with the federal government and it’s an example across the country, the vast majority of states moving with similar partnerships. Part of our allocation updates that we put out include information about where they are in terms of the total percentage of vaccines administered as well as their efforts to potentially expand their reach and you may note that last week 100 such pharmacies in the state of California made themselves available to direct community vaccinations pursuant to an agreement with the Biden administration.
Paul Sisson: (30:48)
Thank you. This next question is from Kevin Yamamura from Politico. Los Angeles County announced it has to focus on second doses this week and has stopped taking first dose appointments at various clinics. How widespread is this issue? Why is California seeing this hiccup while other states don’t seem to be and are you concerned that we’re losing a week in which we could get first doses into more residents?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:13)
Yeah, let me talk to L.A. resident Dr. Ghaly, who literally just came down from Los Angeles and has contemporary information on this point. Doctor?
Dr. Ghaly: (31:29)
Yeah, good afternoon. Thanks for welcoming me to San Diego. The two-hour drive from L.A. was simple and easy so always good to get down to San Diego. So yeah, I think we have a lot of conversation about first and second doses across the state. L.A. County making the decision to really prioritize getting people their complete series of vaccines. Very important, I think a lot of conversation with our federal partners about what to do at that interval between first and second doses, really prioritizing statewide, making sure that we get at this moment as we continue the conversations around first and second doses that we do make sure those who have received the first dose do get timely a second dose. I think we’ve heard today a lot about the scarcity of supply, the need for understanding how much we’ll be getting in weeks to come.
Dr. Ghaly: (32:25)
So some counties making a decision to make sure that those who have received one vaccine get the second round before additional people get that first vaccine. So we’re going to see this play out across the state, working with our local partners, working with our third party administrator as we advance that contract to really come up with some clear guidance on this first and second dose issue, talking to the Biden administration, our colleagues at the CDC to make sure that we’re working on this collaboratively and together. We want to make sure we send a consistent message to the public but as of now clearly those who have received their first dose, we want to make sure that they do get their second dose as we continue those conversations so L.A. County making that decision, a number of other counties making that decision.
Dr. Ghaly: (33:11)
I would say nationwide that this is probably going to be a theme that we will see. A number of people scoring second doses to make sure that it’s available there and the consistency of supply, the clarity on what’s coming in the weeks to come is going to help us sort through this I would say issue of coordination and inventory control but getting people the second dose, key priority for California and something we’ll be working with our counties to make sure it happens successfully.
Chair Fletcher: (33:44)
Thank you. The governor just asked to share briefly what we’re doing in San Diego County. We’ve done now half a million combination first and second dosages. We have not held any back but what we are doing is honoring second dose appointments first so as we move forward again with limited supply, we will honor all second dose appointments that have been made and then whatever we have, the delta between second dose appointments and what we have available we will continue doing first dosages as well. We anticipate in the weeks ahead that we will continue to do both second dose appointments and will have enough to do first dosage but again it is all contingent upon supply.
Paul Sisson: (34:26)
This question is from Brandon Lewis with KFMB here in San Diego. We know the federal government controls the supply of vaccine but the state can allocate doses however it wants. Why aren’t counties like San Diego that have the infrastructure in place receiving more vaccines to meet the demand and how much longer do you think people will continue to be impatient when stories of fraud are becoming more prevalent?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:49)
Well we’re going to call out the fraud and take back seat to no one in terms of calling that out. We’ve made that clear from Day One. In fact even before the first dose arrived, the State of California was forthright in terms of making sure that folks knew that if they were trying to profit by moving these vaccines, taking them out of turn or out of order, they’d be held to consequence not only financially but in terms of any subsequent allocation, distribution or receipt of vaccines in the future. Dr. Ghaly can talk more about that in a moment.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:20)
Look, the issue of scarcity is the issue that we are all mindful of. It’s an issue that has now increasingly been brought to the floor all across this country. We have these governor calls with the new Biden administration, no longer their transition team, on a weekly basis. This is parroted by governors all across the country and that concern is highlighted by the fact that with this three-week window, you get a sense that we’re not seeing appreciable increases. Now again, it’s not a critique. I want to complement the Biden administration for a) giving us a look into the future with some certainty so we can plan over a three week period and I want to acknowledge the work they did with the Pfizer –
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:03)
Plan over a three week period, and I want to acknowledge the work they did with the Pfizer doses, allowing six shots, not just five. That’s a 20% increase. Both those things are additive. Both those things are helpful. In addition to those direct partnerships that we announced, they’re announcing all across this country, the 100 plus sites they have as a goal all across America. But this is an issue that I can assure you is not unique to San Diego. We saw it highlighted moment ago in the answer response, Dr. Ghaly, in LA County. And I can assure you have you just left Alameda County a few days ago, Sacramento County, they are all eager to see a substantial increase in supply as well.
Paul Sisson: (36:46)
This next question comes from my own sources who have reached out to me today about prioritization of people with developmental disabilities, and generally as well, folks with cancer, folks with various pre-existing conditions that put them at a higher risk to serious consequences with that COVID-19. So I wonder, is there any plan to move them up the list a bit?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:09)
No. Thank you for bringing that up, and forgive me for not bringing that up in the top of my remarks. It’s incredibly important to me. And when I say important, deeply. My mother worked for aide to adoption with single kids and special needs kids. I’ve been very involved with Best Buddy and all the work we do with Special Olympics. We have buddies work in my office and throughout our administration. This is a point of pride, and it’s a deep concern that I have on behalf of the IDD community broadly, that we are not providing and supplying adequate number of vaccines. Dr. Ghaly, and I quite literally, again, were in the car about a hour and 20 minutes ago, talking specifically about the progress we’re making.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (37:50)
It’s been stubborn, and candidly, neither of us are satisfied with the progress in the space. And we made a commitment to each other just an hour and 45 minutes ago, to figure this out once and for all by the end of the week. Again, in a framework of scarcity, it’s all about prioritization. But we’ve got to take care of the most vulnerable, and people in the developmentally disabled community with all of the unique challenges and opportunities present them in their lives. These vaccines need to be prioritized, and I am committing to do that. I just fear that whatever we do, will not be enough until the supply is adequate, and we can move from this scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.
Paul Sisson: (38:35)
Thank you. The next one is from Elex Michaelson of Fox 11, Los Angeles. What’s the single biggest obstacle when it comes to schools being open? How do you overcome it?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:46)
I think fear, I think trust. I think it’s one thing to search something. It’s another to prove something. I think we need to prove that we can safely reopen our schools. Now, many schools have safely reopened here in the state of California. We had 87 positive tests in the month of January. 87. It was a low number compared to December and November, in terms of cases in our schools that are open in this state. We need to hold those accountable that are not safely reopening the schools. And we need to provide the resources for those that do want to open, so they can safely reopen their schools.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:28)
Vaccinations are important, but so is testing. So is physical distancing. So is providing the physical environment, ventilation and other supports, to make sure not only our teachers are safe, but our janitors are safe. Our bus drivers, our cafeteria workers are safe as well. And that’s what we are working through. And that’s what we’re committed to advance. And I’ll just remind you, we put up $6.6 billion to bring down for early action support to do just that. And that’s the amount of money that we’re working with the legislature to discuss. What’s the most efficient and effective use of those dollars to address learning loss and our capacity to deliver on the promotion of safety?
Paul Sisson: (40:17)
The next question comes from Jocelyn Moran of CBS 47, Fresno. Here in Fresno County, we’ve only been receiving about 8,000 doses a week, but the county has capacity to administer about 40,000 a week. Other Central Valley counties are also receiving very low amounts of doses. Given that the Central Valley is home to many essential agriculture workers, are there any efforts to increase the allocation here or bring a FEMA vaccination site to the valley?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (40:47)
Yeah, I may have already gotten ahead of my own announcement. If you rewind the tape, I implied that the answer is yes to that question, at least the latter part of the question, as it relates to a larger site in partnership with the federal government. We’ve made this a top priority in our conversations with the Biden administration. We’ve made it a top priority in all of our conversations, as it relates to the allocation of doses. Let me just make a couple points. The first allocations of doses went out based upon the original framework for healthcare workers. And on per capita basis, it’s absolutely true, there were parts of the state that had more abundant distribution because of their health care delivery system being more robust as it relates to total number of personnel. And so it followed suit that more vaccines went to where more of those frontline workers were.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:38)
We have to address that now, as we’re moving in this next iteration, in a more equitable manner. We’re committed to doing just that. I’ve talked to a number of representatives in the Central Valley and assured them of our efforts. And we’ll be socializing them in the coming days and weeks. And it absolutely is correct, our central workforce disproportionate numbers are represented in the Central Valley farm workers, those critical workers in meat packing facilities, folks in logistics, warehousing, manufacturing, central retail workforce up and down the state. Central Valley matters. We care, and we will be prioritizing, at larger scale, some of these more mass vaccination efforts very, very shortly.
Paul Sisson: (42:25)
The final question today comes from Beau [Tafu 00:42:27] of California Black Press. And before I ask it, I want to apologize to anyone whose name I’ve mispronounced today. How does the state of California plan on tackling misinformation and disinformation about COVID-19 vaccinations, specifically in low income, Black and brown communities, considering how racial disparities in the healthcare system have negatively affected these communities?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:50)
That’s the right question. It’s one we’ve asked ourselves often, trying to answer every single day. I noted a minute ago the 110 community based organizations that just last week received grants. A very large number of those organizations were in Black and brown communities, the African-American, Latino community, to address some of those barriers, to address some of those concerns. I referenced a moment ago, the issues around trusted messengers. It is critical and essential that we have folks that community leaders trust that are providing information, providing support for the community, faith-based leaders, as a perfect example. So we’ll be stepping up those efforts. This was the first distribution of direct community-based organization grants. We have a large scale communications effort. $40 million going out, culturally competent messaging all throughout the state of California, and we’re building and closing two things.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:48)
One is the work we did on the census outreach, and we’re taking portions of our workforce who were working on the census and seeing if we can convert their energies and their efforts to these efforts. And we’re learning from the lessons of the census, what worked, what didn’t work, in terms of reaching out into diverse communities and making sure that we are improving upon those efforts as it relates to the vaccine allocations distribution, always mindful that good enough never is. With that, let me just thank all of you for the privilege of your time. And let me just close as I began, with deep respect, deep admiration for the leaders here in San Diego, for San Diego County, leading this state per capita in the administration and distribution of this vaccine, for San Diego City, for their demonstrable leadership in doing the same and supporting not only the county, but this state. And also, for their leaders, demanding more from their governor, demanding more from their legislature.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:53)
When Nathan Fletcher said that he calls often. He calls often, and that’s weekends included, late night, early morning. You have a mayor that doesn’t suffer fools and demands excellence across the board. And I can assure you, understands the ways of Sacramento as well or better than anybody with his relationships there. Mayor Gloria is so uniquely positioned to help support San Diego in this city at a critical time. You have a great team, as it relates to the healthcare workforce, credible partnerships with UC, and as always, what a gift it is to be able to utilize a site like this and the incredible talents of the entire organization represented and others here, the San Diego Padres. Thank you all very, very much. We look forward to updating you very, very soon.