Commentary: A New Hope – A New Challenge

COVID Vaccine GettyImages-1230423279

by Tia Will

Once again I am writing an update on the novel corona virus. I begin with a summary of the presentations provided to the Board of Supervisors and the Health Council including updates on our current situation and the ever-changing plans for meeting the challenges in a rapidly changing situation. The hope I allude to is the development and new availability of vaccines. The challenge involves the evolving recognition of viral variants.

First the new hope: an overview of our current situation.

  1. Earlier in the week we discussed the end of the stay at home order and move into the purple tier. It was initially unclear what determined this change. As it turns out, it was not the current number of county or regional ICU beds, but rather a statistical projection of a 15% bed availability if the numbers remain stable over a two-week time period.
  2. Our current case rate is 47 per 100,000 individuals with a positivity rate of 11.7% as of 1/12/21, both representing an increase over the previous week.
  3. We currently have two vaccines available in Yolo County, The Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. It is hoped that a third vaccine which requires only one dose will be approved in the near future.
  4. Current efforts to distribute the vaccine in an equitable manner in the county are limited by an inconsistent allocation of vaccine with quantity that will be available not known until one week in advance of distribution. The vaccines are free and available according to a tiered protocol available on the county COVID information site. It is now possible for citizens of Yolo County to fill out an online application to be assigned a spot in line and be contacted when your vaccine is available.
  5. The vaccines distribution chain is as follows:
  • The vaccine is sent from the manufacturer to the CDC.
  • From the CDC it goes to the California Department of Public Health which distributes to public health providers such as Communicare, to pharmacies and to Multicounty providers such as UCD Health, Sutter, Dignity and Kaiser for phased distribution.
  1. The current preference is to utilize existing systems for vaccination with the knowledge that new administration systems will have to be developed to immunize the population in a timely manner.
  2. Plans to expand vaccination capacity include: expanding the county workforce through recruitment of volunteers, creating mobile points of dispensing (mPODS) such as workplaces, invitation only drive through clinics, invitation only walk-up clinics
  3. Recognized challenges include underserved communities, communities of color, primary foreign language speakers, those of limited mobility including the homebound. A subgroup of the Health Council is working on the development of improved systems including communication, updates of the dashboards and outreach to the above groups.
  4. As of 1/8/21 Yolo County had received 4,750 doses and administered 3,412 of those doses. Details of distribution are available on the county site. Additional doses have been requested with approval pending.
  5. Phases of the roll out are available on the County website with timeline indeterminate at this time. The vaccine webpage is available at:

Now – the new challenge

According to the CDC, there are now multiple mutant strains of the novel coronavirus circulating in the world. The one that has made the most news here is the variant found first in the UK. This variant has the trait of easier transmissibility but does not seem to be associated with more severe symptoms or increased fatality.

This mutant strain has been identified in at least 3 states with the first cases reported in Ohio. If it is in these three states, we can be assured of one thing. It simply has not been detected yet in others. A rapidly spreading strain is a particular danger due to the possibility of spread to more people while the primary individual is still asymptomatic.

This is important to understand as so many people I have spoken to either in my actual life or on social media do not understand some critical points. Here’s a summary:

  1. The vaccine does not keep an individual from contracting the virus. It’s mechanism of action is to prime the immune system to be able to fend off the virus more rapidly and efficiently with fewer immune system caused side effects.
  2. At the current rate of administration (which of course we hope to improve) it would take us a little over a year to immunize everyone in Yolo County.
  3. The vaccination is unlikely to be a panacea in the near future for another reason. Even amongst health care workers who were given the first option, the rate of acceptance of the vaccines has been lower than hoped. The vaccine is unlikely to have optimal benefit until 70% of the population has been immunized.

It is for these reasons that I am going to make a personal plea to our readership:

  • When it is not necessary to go out, please stay home
  • If you must go out please socially distance, limit your time in close proximity, wear a mask and disinfect.
  • In you are going to gather please do so outdoors, limit your groups to ten or fewer if possibly from a maximum of 3 households.

So, in closing, please stay home, stay safe.

Tia Will is a retired OBGYN and a member of the Vanguard Board.

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About The Author

Tia is a graduate of UCDMC and long time resident of Davis who raised her two now adult children here. She is a local obstetrician gynecologist with special interests in preventive medicine and public health and safety. All articles and posts written by Tia are reflective only of her own opinions and are in no way a reflection of the opinions of her partners or her employer.

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  1. Tia Will

    I would like to make the following addition to my article:

    In a new study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that its forecasts indicated outbreaks caused by the new variant could cause a burgeoning pandemic trajectory this winter.

    It called for a doubling down of preventive measures…

    1. Tia Will


      Sorry about the delayed response. Life intervened.

      I know nothing about the “Covid immunization passport” except that on first glance it does not look particularly effective to me. There is too much we still do not know about the virus let alone the vaccine. I am concerned that too many people are interpreting the vaccine as a panacea. What we do not know might be critical. 1. The effectiveness of the vaccine against the new mutations 2. The duration of the effectiveness of the vaccine. 3. And as I stated in the main article, people’s misconception that the vaccine stops the transmission of the virus.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Chris… concept (hopefully) won’t go very far, as we don’t really know the effectiveness, or how long the ‘immunity’ might last… no telling how long a “passport” should be valid… we still just don’t know enough…

  2. Keith Olsen

    Getting my COVID vaccine on Sat the 23rd, had to wait on hold 2 1/2 hours to get the appointment.

    My son-in-law is a doctor, he received his second shot yesterday.  He said he didn’t feel much with the first shot but the second shot has left him sore and achy with slight flu like symptoms.

    1. Ron Oertel

      The Donald insisted was not a big deal, and said would disappear by May (2020)… whatever… 

      For him, it seemed to disappear within about a week!   (Truth be told, I thought that would go a long way politically, toward supporting his re-election chances.)

  3. Chris Griffith

    What troubles me is the mind disease that is seemingly infecting people The main symptom is the assumption that everyone is sick unless proven otherwise. This is demented, and it seems this mentality is spreading faster than any virus can spread. 
    Where does this stop? Do they add a checkpoint for food stores? Do I need a passport to go to the Davis Farmers market to buy fresh bread? Will there be armed police to enforce this as I enter the Farmers market?

    1. Tia Will


      I think you are missing an important distinction. I see no one pushing the idea that everyone is “sick” until proven otherwise. However, what we do know is that everyone can be carrying the virus and not know it. For diseases that have an asymptomatic phase, this is well known medical fact, not some new mental derangement. It is simple fact that  the safest route for one’s self and the community is to behave as though you may have acquired the virus, not necessarily its associated illness.

      1. Alan Miller

        Well said.  I wish our politicians would say it so succinctly – and that anyone believed what they said, and that they’d all carry a common message, etc, etc. . . . we’re doomed.

  4. Ron Oertel

    Though the long-term impacts of that might still be a factor (e.g., eviction moratoriums, permanent economic damage, lack of jobs when the stimulus runs out, etc.).

    I was watching a YouTube video recently, which stated that something like 60 million people (across the country) have not been paying rent, and are protected by the Covid eviction moratorium.  (I did not take any steps to verify that.) In any case, it doesn’t seem likely that they’re going to be able to pay back rent, or get another place to live if they’re ultimately evicted.

    And the video pointed out that no one is really talking about this, the impact it will have on real estate (e.g. foreclosures, housing crash), the overall economy, etc. (Not to mention the personal impacts this may have, on some.)

    Nor have I seen any discussion of the potential local impacts of that.

    1. Chris Griffith

      Though the long-term impacts of that might still be a factor (e.g., eviction moratoriums, permanent economic damage, lack of jobs when the stimulus runs out, etc.).
      My humble opinion Donald Trump ought to feel lucky he didn’t get reelected. I’m not only feel sorry for those poor renter but I also feel sorry for the slumlords they’re holding the bag too they got to still make their payments. I also feel sorry for the poor taxpayers that have to pay for this thing I can’t wait to buy them stay to the union speech but he has to announce that tax increase. As much as I love to beat up on Democrats I kind of feel sorry for the old man on this one it’s a no win situation for the poor guy.

  5. Ron Oertel

    One thing that I see from those with a more “liberal” point of view is the downplaying or outright lack of empathy or understanding of the anger and desperation (which isn’t necessarily related to political views per se) as a result of the lockdowns, for some.  Perhaps partly because those with more liberal views tend to have more secure/stable incomes (e.g., “work for home”), but not sure.

    Regarding that 60 million number I mentioned, I don’t think that’s actually anywhere near accurate, and might also include non-renters regardless.  Still, there’s some kind of significant reckoning coming, at some point. Presumably, after the stimulus (and eviction moratoriums) come to an end.

    In regard to Davis/UCD, I wonder what the local vacancy rate is, now.

  6. Chris Griffith

    Regarding that 60 million number I mentioned, I don’t think that’s actually anywhere near accurate, and might also include non-renters regardless.  Still, there’s some kind of significant reckoning coming, at some point. Presumably, after the stimulus (and eviction moratoriums) come to an end.
    Yes I find all that very interesting I wonder how the secondary real estate mortgage area is holding up? With interest rates low the way they are to prop up the market would be kind of hard for the feds to do but granted they do have printing presses they can print money till the cows come home but that would create inflation. I just hope they can pull a rabbit out of their hat 😳

  7. John Troidl

    Last Saturday I went to the Farmers Market and bought some nutritious food (love those mandarin oranges!) and have my purchases contribute to the local economy.  On the way to the restroom I walked through Central Park and was stunned at the large number of people not wearing masks, including a group of 12 people all about the same age it appeared and none of them were wearing masks.

    I asked Randii (Market Manager) what was going on and she told me about the effort by Healthy Davis Together to encourage mask wearing through the use of UC Davis Aggie Public Health Ambassadors.  They have been successful in the market itself but not so much in the park.  Randii’s staff hands out free masks when people ask, by the way.

    So, I contacted Mayor Partida about this matter of so many people being “Maskless in Central Park” and she said she or her staff would get back to me.  And they did!  Diana Parro (Director of Community and Business Engagement) wrote an excellent response letting me know about these voluntary compliance efforts, such as the Ambassadors.  And she also provided information about how concerned citizens can report out in case the voluntary methods are not working.  Here is what she said that I share with you below.

    Be safe!


    “Because we know that compliance will never be perfect, we have set up an easy way for concerned community members to report concerns or ask questions about the Shelter in Place Order and guidelines.  You can email  This ensures that comments are received directly by the Police Department and can be handled without delay. 
    If you have a more pressing public safety issue, the best way to report it is by using our online crime reporting tool available at:

    1. Alan Miller

      I am not so concerned about people outside in an open park, and how can we know if people are in their pods or not?

      It is people gathering inside who are most spreading the virus, and we can’t see what people are doing inside their own buildings, so this “reporting” seems like yelling at the wind to stop.

      As for the Farmer’s Market the main issue I have is it says on their website to send one person per family, and no one does this and I see no signs or enforcement at market and people come in huge groups/families and it’s impossible to distance without constantly dodging people.  I twice literally had little kids run into my legs – social distance, zero – so I won’t go back.

  8. Tia Will

    Thanks, John,

    I walked down to Farmer’s Market this morning to check out the park situation. I do not know if it was a fluke, the efforts of Randi and her team, the Ambassador’s or factors unknown, I did not see any large groups on the lawn, and although there was a paucity of mask-wearing in the park outside the confines of the market where compliance is excellent, there did appear to be appropriate distancing between small clusters of twos and threes and what appeared to be family groups.


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