Respiratory Care Board of California

The mandate of the Respiratory Care Board is to protect and serve the consumer by administering and enforcing the Respiratory Care Practice Act and its regulations in the interest of the safe practice of respiratory care. Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) regularly perform critical lifesaving and life support procedures prescribed by physicians that directly affect major organs of the body. RCPs provide care directly to the patient in either a hospital setting or the patient's home. Patients may be suffering from lung cancer, emphysema, asthma, or cystic fibrosis, or may be premature infants whose lungs have not yet fully developed. More than 40,000 RCP licenses have been issued in the State of California.

Alert

Order Waiving Restrictions On Licensed Midwives, Physician Assistants, Respiratory Care Practitioners, And Veterinarians Ordering And Administering COVID-19 Vaccines In Association With State or Local Vaccination Efforts

Licensed midwives, physician assistants, respiratory care practitioners, and veterinarians acting within the scope of this Order may independently order and administer any COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA, as specified.


Order Waiving Restrictions On Healthcare Students Administering COVID-19 Vaccines In Association With State or Local Vaccination Efforts

Students in a healthcare training program acting within the scope of this Order may administer any COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA, as specified.


Order Waiving Restrictions On Healthcare Providers With Expired, Inactive Or Lapsed Licenses Ordering And Administering COVID-19 Vaccines In Association With State or Local Vaccination Efforts

Inactive, expired or lapsed licensees acting within the scope of this Order may independently order and administer any COVID-19 vaccines that are approved or authorized by the FDA, as specified.


COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands Statewide in April

Vaccinations opening for all Californians aged 50 and up April 1st, and 16 and up April 15th.

California is allocating COVID-19 vaccines as they become available to ensure equitable distribution. Vaccinations are prioritized according to risk and age.

Healthcare workers and long-term care residents (Phase 1A)

Now vaccinating

People with a high chance of exposure and those 65 or older (Phase 1B)

Sector populations with high chance of exposure:

  • Agriculture and food
  • Education and childcare
  • Emergency services
Now vaccinating

Individuals age 16 or older at higher risk

People with certain significant high-risk:

  • Medical conditions
  • Disabilities
  • Illnesses
  • Living spaces
  • Work environments
Now vaccinating

Individuals 50 or older

Starts April 1, 2021

Every Californian 16 or older

Vaccination of people younger than 16 will start as soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them

Starts April 15, 2021

For further details, please review the California Department of Public Health’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines and Provider Bulletin. California’s COVID-19 vaccine website has additional information and resources available.

Every Californian can verify their eligibility or schedule with My Turn by signing up at myturn.ca.gov or calling (833) 422-4255.


All Hands on Deck: How to Become a Volunteer COVID-19 Vaccinator

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) hosted a webinar on March 18, 2021 which offered information on how to become a COVID-19 volunteer vaccinator. The webinar discussed the public health significance of volunteer vaccinators, the current California landscape for COVID-19 vaccines, how authorized licensees may volunteer to administer COVID-19 vaccine, and important state systems related to COVID-19 vaccinations. The archive of the webinar and the slides are now available for viewing. Thank you for your commitment to protect the health and well-being of all Californians.


COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands Statewide Beginning March 15, 2021

Beginning March 15, 2021, healthcare providers may use their clinical judgment to vaccinate individuals age 16-64 who are deemed to be at high risk from COVID-19 as the direct result of certain conditions and settings, as specified in the California Department of Public Health’s Provider Bulletin:

  • Individuals with one or more severe health conditions
  • Individuals with developmental or other severe disabilities or illness
  • Individuals who live or work in a high risk congregate residential setting
  • Public transit workers

For further details, please review the California Department of Public Health’s Provider Bulletin, Fact Sheet and COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidelines. California’s COVID-19 vaccine website also has additional information and resources available.

Individuals with the above conditions are strongly encouraged to seek vaccination with a primary health care provider or system, or in an alternate clinical setting. Additional ways individuals can find appointments are through pharmacies, local health departments, community pop-up clinics, online at MyTurn.ca.gov and by calling the COVID-19 hotline at (833)422-4255.


Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and Vaccine Appointments

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program has been activated with select pharmacy partners. California’s current pharmacy partners are CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Albertsons. Pharmacy partners are now offering COVID-19 vaccines in their select store locations. For eligibility and scheduling, visit the California Department of Public Health’s Federal Retail Pharmacy Program page.


How to Get Vaccinated

Learn more about how to get vaccinated by visiting the state’s COVID-19 website. The state’s website has information on vaccination eligibility, how to sign up for an appointment via MyTurn.ca.gov, local health jurisdiction resources, and more. Additionally, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen pharmacies now offer limited appointments for free COVID-19 vaccinations in select areas. Visit https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#How-to-get-vaccinated for more information.


Governor’s Executive Order on Liability Protections

On January 27, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an Executive Order that extends liability protections to specified licensees participating in the State’s vaccination administration program. It also directs the boards, bureaus and committees within the Department of Consumer Affairs that regulate healthcare professionals to prioritize certain investigations relating to vaccine administration. Read the full text of the Executive Order here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/01/27/governor-newsom-signs-executive-order-to-help-bolster-states-vaccination-efforts-1-27-21/


RCPs and Student RCPs - COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout-Phase 1a

Please be advised that according to the California Department of Public Health’s allocation guidelines for the COVID-19 vaccine, respiratory care practitioners and students who are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their work in any role in direct health care or long-term settings are included in Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. For more information regarding California’s vaccination plan, please visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/#When-can-I-get-vaccinated.

The vaccine is strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Please contact your health care provider first to inquire about access to the vaccine. If your health care provider is not prepared to provide the vaccine, please check the website of your county health department for more information.


COVID-19 Vaccination Administration by Respiratory Therapists

Please be advised that administration of the COVID-19 vaccination is covered under the scope of practice for respiratory therapists. Respiratory Therapists are legally authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. You may find the Respiratory Therapist scope of practice under sections 3702 and 3702.7 of the Business and Professions Code.

Please check your email and our website for updates in the coming weeks regarding volunteer efforts to distribute the vaccine.


Updated Notice Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine Administration

On January 7, 2021, the California Department of Public Health released new guidance on vaccine prioritization. The guidance recognized the need to balance the prioritization of scarce vaccine resources with the goal of achieving community immunity for all Californians. Additionally, the guidance noted situations in which the health departments and providers may offer doses promptly to people in lower priority groups, including provider flexibility to eliminate vaccine spoilage.

The Respiratory Care Board previously provided licensees with information on their role in maintaining COVID-19 phase structure as they administer the COVID-19 vaccine. The Respiratory Care Board is incorporating this new guidance and any future guidance issued into its review and evaluation of complaints that could result in disciplinary actions against licensees involved in COVID-19 administration.

With respect to vaccine prioritization, the Respiratory Care Board will prioritize the investigation of complaints against licensees who engage in the diversion of COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine administration supplies provided by the federal government that is undertaken for financial gain in violation of applicable federal and state guidance.

This guidance updates the guidance released on December 31, 2020.


Expedited Licensure for Refugees, Asylees, and Holders of Special Immigrant Visas

Starting January 1, 2021, individuals in the following categories who apply for licensure by the Respiratory Care Board may seek an expedited licensure process.

  1. Refugees pursuant to section 1157 of title 8 of the United States Code;
  2. Those granted asylum by the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General of the United States pursuant to section 1158 of title 8 of the United States Code; or,
  3. Individuals with a special immigrant visa that have been granted a status pursuant to section 1244 of Public Law 110-181, Public Law 109-163, or section 602(b) of title VI of division F of Public Law 111-8.

In order to receive the expedited licensure process, individuals must provide documentation of their refugee, asylee, or special immigrant visa status when submitting their application package. Please note that this does not mean a license must be issued, but simply that the process will be expedited.

Click here for information and documentation examples.


Notice Regarding COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

As the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed, the Respiratory Care Board is supporting the State’s effort to ensure that all providers follow the standards for allocating and administering COVID-19 vaccines. In particular, Respiratory Care Board licensees must adhere to the current federal and state prioritization standards for allocating and administering COVID-19 vaccines in phases. The standards are available on the California Department of Public Health’s website at the following link: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Drafting-Guidelines-Workgroup.aspx

For more information, please see the Vaccine Distribution Guidance document on the Board’s website.