In its first week of operation, Dignity Health Mark Twain Medical Center’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic will have provided 860 doses to some Calaveras County residents in Phase 1B, Tier One of California’s vaccine rollout schedule.
According to CEO/President Doug Archer, the hospital is currently handling vaccinations for residents age 65 and older, while the county will be administering doses to workers at high risk of exposure in the education, childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture sectors when inventory allows.
Currently, there are no additional clinic dates scheduled beyond Friday. Until another shipment arrives, the hospital will not be able to address the thousands of individuals who have already called in requesting a vaccine.
“The entire nation is grappling with this same supply chain issue, and I am hopeful that by early next week we will be able to resume our vaccination clinics and continue the important work of vaccinating our community,” Archer told the Enterprise on Thursday.
A projected date for a next shipment is currently unknown, as shipments can often arrive with little advance notice. Gov. Gavin Newsom has recently come under fire for a lack of clarity during the vaccine rollout, leaving eligible Californians unsure of when they can get vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the county’s Public Health Division of the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), in partnership with Mark Twain Medical Center, has begun administering second doses of the vaccine to health care workers and first responders in Phase 1A.
On Thursday, the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office announced that Sheriff Rick DiBasilio and other members of the department had begun receiving its first round of vaccinations. Deputy Sydne Elam, a tactical EMT, will be assisting Public Health in administering vaccines. The governor recently broadened the pool of professionals who can administer the vaccine in an effort to expedite the rollout.
Although Interim HHSA Director Sam Leach could not provide an updated count of the county’s vaccine inventory by press time, he stated on Jan. 13 that the county was in possession of several hundred doses and that 100 more were expected to arrive within the next week.
“Between (the county) and Mark Twain, we have enough second doses for those groups,” Leach said. “We are doing well there.”
However, some long-term care residents in Calaveras County who want to be vaccinated have yet to receive their first dose, even though they are included in Phase 1A.
Leach stated during a board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday that Public Health is “awaiting clarity” regarding the issue, as vaccines are being distributed to care homes via a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens.
Another factor that has slowed the vaccine rollout was a statewide pause in administering a batch of the Moderna vaccine that was linked to an unusual number of possible allergic reactions.
Leach said on Tuesday that the county and local hospital were in possession of doses from that batch, though none had been administered, and that the temporary hold on the batch had impacted available inventory.
On Wednesday, California State Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan issued a statement advising providers that the batch was safe for use, recommending that they could immediately resume administration.