SALINAS – A letter has been drafted from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors to the state making the case to allot more COVID-19 vaccine to the county, according to Supervisor Wendy Root Askew at the COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
“Monterey County does have some very unique populations and needs that differentiate us in some ways from the rest of the state in terms of the seasonal farmworkers, and the high numbers of undocumented workers that we have, and individuals and family members that we have living here in Monterey County,” said Askew.
There is the need to uphold the commitment the state has made to equity to bring additional vaccine to Monterey County for the agriculture workforce. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors will be asking the California Department of Public Health and the Governor for increased transparency about the data in regards to how the vaccine is being distributed to counties throughout the state.
Askew said Monterey County is prepared to deliver vaccines, citing the 32 sites ready to go to pop-up mass vaccination sites, 91 sites that are under finalization for contract, staffing teams and vaccinators ready to deliver vaccine to county residents.
“What we need is clear and consistent delivery of vaccine dedicated to our population,” said Askew. “We need that vaccine from the federal government and the state.”
According to Monterey County Health Officer Dr. Edward Moreno, the state of California determines how much vaccine is coming from the federal government. Based on a formula, the counties receive a share of vaccine. The Monterey County Health Department identifies providers that have been approved by the state to receive and administer the vaccine, and have demonstrated in the past an efficiency for vaccinating the population. The Health Department checks with those organizations and inquires about vaccination plans, the populations they can vaccinate, the amount of people they can vaccinate, and the strategies they would use.
“We make a determination about how much vaccine to send out to each of those providers,” said Moreno.
The providers submit their orders and the county health department verifies and confirms the order amount, approves them, and forwards them to the California Department of Public Health who notifies the Centers for Disease Control which then approves the order, notifies Pfizer and Moderna of the order request and ships directly to the provider, explained Moreno.
The county health officer said he does not know if anyone in the county has started vaccinating people 75 years and older yet. Moreno advises people to continue to go to the Monterey County website COVID-19 Vaccination Registration page or phone the call centers at the four hospitals in Monterey County, or to check with their health care providers.
Moreno said that Monterey County is receiving its allotment of vaccine based on a formula from the state that looks at population, the number of individuals that are 65 and older, and incorporating adjustments based on equity.
“We are trying to get more vaccine,” said Moreno.
Monterey County has submitted a request for more vaccine, as have other California counties, but it has not received additional vaccine.
Contributed by local news sources