From the Humboldt County Joint Information Center:
More than 3,600 Humboldt County Phase IA health care providers have received their first COVID-19 vaccine since the first shipment arrived in the county in mid-December. Administration of the remaining 2,000 first-round doses will continue tomorrow.
Public Health is working closely with the county’s Emergency Operations Center to set up clinics to continue to administer first doses to the remaining people in the Phase 1A category, which continues to include health care-related entities. The invitation-only clinics are scheduled to run three days a week for the next six weeks and will include vaccinations of health care staff from offices that are not part of a larger health care entity such as a hospital or clinic network.
Second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which include a primer dose followed by a booster shot 21 days and 28 days later respectively, are arriving in the county and will be administered starting this week.
While Public Health anticipates receiving between 1,000 and 2,000 vaccines weekly, Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Ian Hoffman said, “As the second doses arrive, the arrival of first doses may slow down, which is what we saw happen this week.”
He said planning for distribution is ongoing. St. Joseph Hospital, Mad River Community Hospital, Jerold Phelps Community Hospital, Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, United Indian Health Services, Open Door Community Health Center, Southern Trinity Health Services and the Public Health Branch are licensed through the state to administer the vaccine.
“The first step was for each agency to get through its own qualifying staff. Now they are branching out to administer vaccine to other qualifying providers, and there are thousands of them,” Dr. Hoffman said, adding that this week vaccinators at Mad River and St. Joseph hospitals will shift focus to administer second doses to staff.
While Public Health’s primary role is to coordinate the distribution of the vaccines and manage the contact tracing of positive COVID-19 cases, Public Health nurses have stepped in to vaccinate when needed, administering dozens of vaccines to employees at local skilled nursing facilities over the weekend and will also be running the vaccination clinics.
Dr. Hoffman said he is hopeful vaccination of the next phase will start sometime toward the end of winter but stressed that this depends on many factors. “We are reliant on how many doses we are given, and we continue to plan with many contingencies in mind,” he said. “Each agency licensed to administer vaccine has ample other responsibilities to our community. It’s important that we do not overwhelm the system that is also taking care of our society.”