COVID-19 vaccine: Here's how distribution will work in Southern California

As Pzifer begins distribution of its COVID-19 vaccine around the country, officials expect some 20 million Americans should get their first shots by the end of this month.

The first round of shots is reserved primarily for health-care workers and nursing home residents.

As for the general population, the vaccine could be widely available by the middle of next year.

State and local health departments will get the word out on eligibility as supplies ramp up.

States are signing up pharmacies, health clinics and doctor's offices to give the shots.

Health departments will also probably run mass vaccination clinics.

And once doses are widely available, people should be able to use the VaccineFinder website to find where shots can be received. The website, a partnership involving Boston Children's Hospital, the CDC and other health organizations, is already used to find vaccines for flu and other diseases.

The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be distributed for free.

The government is paying for the vaccine itself and you should not be charged a copay or other fee to get it.

The cost for giving the shot will be covered by private and government insurance.

If you don't have insurance, providers can tap a government fund to cover your costs.

When will the vaccine be available to you?

So how long will it take before the general public - people outside the most vulnerable populations that are first in line - can receive the vaccine?

We have a vaccine calculator available here, in which you can plug in data such as where you live and potential risk factors, to find out how many people might be in line before it's your turn.
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