February 17, 2021 — There are so many different ways to get a vaccine, but the supply is still scarce. Adventist hospital, which gets its own allocation of doses from the state, is holding age-based mass vaccine events. CVS pharmacy in Ukiah is taking appointments for people 65 and older. The county public health department is administering vaccines to people who are at risk because of their occupations. And the federally qualified health centers, which get all their supplies from the county, are vaccinating people in both categories. There’s a catch as catch can quality to getting a vaccine now, with people patrolling the right sites, showing up at the right time, and answering the phone when it’s an unknown number that turns out to be a health center offering a shot.
Lucresha Renteria, who runs the Mendocino Coast Clinics in Fort Bragg, says her health center has administered 1,879 vaccines, including 620 second doses. She’s relying heavily on vaccinatemendo.com, local employers, and her own patient rolls going back to 2009.
She said it can take two days to get enough appointments to give out 300 shots. Wiith just a few days’ lead time, old phone numbers, and the modern reluctance to pick up the phone if you don’t know who it is, the clinic often calls employers at the end of the day and asks them to send people over on the spur of the moment.
And the county has administered more Moderna doses that it’s received, because some of the vials have more than ten doses in them. So if you’re on a standby list, you’d better really be standing by.
Big changes are coming at every level. Today, the county is rolling out MyTurn, a state signup system. And possibly as early as March, the state will start to prioritize vaccine for people with disabilities. Soon Blue Shield will take over the distribution of the coveted supply. And the Biden administration is working on a new plan for the federal government to send vaccines directly to the federally qualified health centers. For now, Renteria says she’s carefully maintaining those standby lists.
You can hear more in this interview with Renteria.