FDA Approves Emergency Use of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine

Having a safe and effective vaccine is the top priority. Approving vaccines as safe, and making sure they work, is up to several scientific groups at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other groups look at available information about a vaccine and make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of using it.

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.

On December 18, 2020, the FDA issued the second EUA for a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. The EUA allows the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.

Learn more about the FDA’s EUA process for the Pfizer vaccine.

Learn more about the FDA's EUA process for the Moderna vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheets

Pfizer Vaccine Fact Sheet     English | Spanish

Moderna Vaccine Face Sheet     English | Spanish

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine right now?

The people in the highest risk categories, as set by the state and federal government, are eligible for vaccine. These are people at risk of getting COVID-19 because they work in specific jobs in health care or because they live or work in certain types of nursing homes.

Del Norte County is in Phase 1a, Tiers 1 and 2 of the state of California’s prioritization tiers, offering vaccine to approved healthcare facilities for vaccination of specific healthcare personnel working in the following settings:

Vaccinating NOW

Phase 1a - Tier 1

  • Acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals.

  • Skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals

  • Paramedics, EMTs and others providing emergency medical services

  • Dialysis centers

Vaccinating NOW

Phase 1a - Tier 2

  • Intermediate care facilities for persons who  need non-continuous nursing supervision and
    supportive care

  • Home health care and in-home supportive services

  • Community health workers, including promotoras

  • Public health field staff

  • Primary Care clinics, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, correctional facility clinics, and urgent care clinics

Vaccinating NOW

Phase 1a - Tier 3

  • Other settings and health care workers

  • Specialty clinics

  • Laboratory workers

  • Dental and other oral health clinics

  • Pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers

NOTE: This is a proposed vaccine schedule.  This info is not finalized and may change. 

Phase 1b NEXT

Tier 1: Projected Early-Mid February

  • 75+

  • Food and Agriculture

  • Education and Childcare

  • Emergency Services

Tier 2​: Projected Early March

  • 65-74 years with underlying medical conditions/ disabilities that place them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death

  • Incarcerated Individuals - jails and prisons

  • Homeless/Unhoused

  • Transportation and Logistics

  • Industrial, Residential, Commercial

  • Critical Manufacturing

Phase 1c SOON

Tier 1: Projected Mid-Late March

  • 65-74 years

  • 16-64 years with underlying medical conditions/ disabilities that place them at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death

  • Sectors of Water and Waste Management, Defense, Energy, Chemical and Hazardous Materials,  Communications and IT, Financial Services

  • Government Operations/Community Services

Why we need a vaccine

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. If you are protected from getting COVID-19, you cannot pass the disease to others.

Because the supply of vaccine will be limited at first, doing other things to help stop the spread will be just as important as it is now. This means still wearing a facemask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, washing your hands a lot, and staying home if you are sick.


What you can do now


Continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose

  • Wash your hands often

  • Stay 6 feet away from other people

  • Stay home if you are sick

  • Avoid large gatherings

You should also get a flu vaccine. Flu vaccines save lives and prevent more flu during the COVID-19 pandemic. People need to do everything they can to stay healthy and not overwhelm our health care system this fall and winter. To find where you can get a flu vaccine, visit VaccineFinder.

Want to Volunteer?


As COVID vaccine rolls out in our community, it will take many hands to get Del Norte vaccinated! If you are willing and able to help, we ask that you fill out a short survey to give us a sense of your skills, experience, and qualifications. Together, we can get end the pandemic! 



Take a look at our brief presentation about the COVID-19 Vaccine. If you have questions about vaccination that are not answered there or on this page, please submit your questions here

The California Department of Public Health has convened a Drafting Guidelines Workgroup which is leveraging national prioritization frameworks and reviewing data regarding occupational exposure and COVID risk to prioritize sectors across phases and tiered population groups. Counties will follow these guidelines in administering vaccine.