SALINAS – Providers may now begin to offer COVID-19 vaccine to Monterey County residents 75 years of age and older, the Monterey County Health Department announced late Monday afternoon.
But local medical providers may not have enough vaccine to begin immunizing their patients 75 years and older right away. Monterey County receives 2,000 to 4,000 doses of vaccine each week, half of which must be used for the second dose in the vaccine series.
As vaccine supplies remain limited, the County Health Department asks residents to be patient. The department will continue to monitor vaccination progress, move through the 75 years of age and older group, and work to extend vaccinations to those 65 and older as soon as possible.
As the vaccine becomes more available in the coming weeks, options for individuals 75 years and older to receive shots include community-based clinics, health care provider offices, local hospitals, and some pharmacies.
Health care workers in Phase 1a of the County vaccine schedule will continue to be inoculated even as the county moves into the first tier of Phase 1b.
“After consulting with representatives from our local health care community and reviewing data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we believe that prioritizing people 75 years of age and older at this time will save the most lives,” said Monterey County Health Officer, Dr. Edward Moreno, in the announcement.
Monterey County Health Department spokeswoman Karen Smith said the department is working with partners to reach those 75 years and older who may not have access to computers and added that those individuals can also call the COVID hotline at 831-769-8700.
The Monterey County Health Department will schedule community-based clinics once new shipments of vaccine are received, updating the county’s vaccine appointment registration website, at www.montereycountycovid19.com, as clinics are scheduled
Individuals will be required to show proof of age of at least 75 years for community-based vaccination appointments. Individuals 75 and older can also contact their health care provider to see if they are expecting to receive the vaccine and, if so when a vaccination appointment can be scheduled. Individuals 75 and older can also contact local hospitals and pharmacies to find out when they will be offering appointments.
In the meantime, the Monterey County Health Department asks residents to continue taking steps to limit the transmission of the coronavirus and reduce the strain on the health care system by staying at home except for essential activities, wearing a mask when leaving home, limiting interactions with people outside the immediate household, physically distancing at least 6 feet apart, washing hands for at least 20 seconds and getting the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible and when it becomes available.
For more information about the virus or COVID-19 vaccination, visit www.montereycovid19.com or call the COVID-19 call center at 831-769-8700 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Contributed by local news sources