In a Zoom call with reporters this afternoon, Dr. Ian Hoffman, the county’s health officer, said that the county is ready to start distributing COVID-19 vaccine to be given to local residents aged 75 and up.
Starting next week, Hoffman said, local health care providers and the county’s Public Health Division itself will be announcing specifics on how people in that age group can sign up for appointments to receive the vaccine.
“We have met with all the local healthcare leaders today to alert them to this plan,” Hoffman said. “They’re aware that we will be opening up Phase 1B. They’ve been preparing for this for weeks. They’re aware that in the coming days and weeks they will be ramping up their clinics and sending out information to their patients to let them know when and where they can get their vaccine.”
The Public Health Division and its partners will handle vaccination for people without current healthcare providers, Hoffman said.
Unlike some other places in the state, this next phase of vaccination schedule will not include people aged 65-74. Earlier this week, the state public health department announced that this younger cohort will now be eligible to get their shots. But Hoffman and his colleague Michele Stephens, the county’s public health director, said that there is not enough vaccine available locally to open up appointments to that group yet.
Hoffman and Stephens underlined the fact that different California counties are proceeding through their vaccination schedules at different rates – not only due to the availability of vaccine, but because the demographic and professional makeup of each county is different.
“Jurisdictions that are moving on to teachers now – maybe they’ve been done with Phase 1A for quite some time because they don’t have as many [healthcare professionals],” said Stephens, in response to a question. “We don’t really know the specifics of each county. It stands to reason that there would be some variation across counties and across jurisdictions for that reason.”
Humboldt County should soon be receiving vaccine on an accelerated schedule, Hoffman said. Local officials have been told that they’ll soon be getting around 3,000 doses on a weekly schedule.