Navigating to a COVID-19 vaccination in Monterey County

Peninsula Premier Admin

SALINAS – Now that Monterey County has begun Phase 1b – tier 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination schedule, persons 75 years of age and older are eligible for inoculations. Here’s what you need to know to help navigate the process of getting a shot in the arm.

Probably the first thing anyone should do before getting the COVID-19 vaccine is to talk to their primary care doctor to answer questions and get medical advice.

For individuals 75 years and older seeking to be vaccinated, and for those who do not have a primary care doctor, Monterey County’s COVID-19 vaccination registration webpage at http://mcvaccinate.com has information about what documents are required, scheduling a vaccination appointment, who is currently eligible for vaccination, information on the two vaccines being offered, and post-vaccine information.

Once on the mcvaccinate.com web page, scroll down to check for open clinics. The clinics fill up quickly so check back periodically as clinics are added when more vaccine arrives. If a clinic is available, click on the link to sign up. An email will be sent indicating an appointment has been made. Remember to check junk or spam email as sometimes the appointment email ends up there.

If people 75 years of age and older do not have access to a computer or cannot use one, ask a friend or loved one to help register for an appointment. If that is not possible there are organizations such as the Alliance on Aging that can help with getting an appointment. The offices of county supervisors Mary Adams (831-755-5055) and John Phillips (831-755-5022 ) have also said they will help.

Monterey County residents 75 years and older will be asked to show proof of age at the vaccination clinic on any of the following official documents that include the person’s name and date of birth.

  • Drivers license, California ID or REAL ID card from the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security card
  • Military ID
  • Passport
  • Medical document or record from a medical provider, clinic or doctor
  • Membership card for a senior’s only organization that shows current age

“As more vaccine becomes available, your health care provider may begin to vaccinate patients,” said Karen Smith, Monterey County Health Department spokeswoman. “This depends on the organization’s ability to handle vaccine, staffing and if the organization applied to be a vaccinator.”

Some providers will be calling their patients and scheduling appointments to get a vaccination, she said.

Veterans may contact the Veterans Administration for more information at www.va.gov/health-care/covid-19-vaccine/

Smith advises people to continue to check the Monterey County website for open clinics and to check with the person’s primary care provider to see if they are offering vaccinations.

“There will be more clinics offered,” said Smith. “It is important to know that while vaccine supply is still limited and unreliable, clinics will not be scheduled unless there is identified vaccine for that clinic. It would be more frustrating to have to cancel clinics when supply did not arrive.”

The Monterey County Health Department spokeswoman said the department understands the situation is frustrating and along with others, is advocating for more vaccine to come to Monterey County.

Salinas Valley Medical Clinic is a component of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and has already begun vaccinating patients 75 years of age and older. Salinas Valley Medical Clinic has identified about 9,000 people who have visited or are patients eligible for vaccination.

“The identification process for those people meeting the new expanded criteria began last week and is going quickly,” said Karina Rusk, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare Systems spokeswoman. “We’re contacting these at-risk individuals in a variety of ways, including our electronic medical records called My Chart, email, text and by phone.”

The Salinas Valley Medical Clinic does not have a link listed on the county’s website to reduce confusion and will be contacting and making appointments to those it serves as they become eligible.

Kosum Faledas, 78, of Marina, gives a thumbs-up after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination at Salinas Valley Medical Clinic PrimeCare Monterey. (SVMHS)

“If someone meets the age criteria and has been seen at a Salinas Valley Medical Clinic primary or specialty care office and has not been contacted, they can sign up at mychart.svmh.com or have a loved one access the patient portal at that web address using the required personal information,” said Rusk.

Montage Health started the first of two COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula on Monday with a second clinic at Montage Wellness Center in Marina beginning next Monday.

“Montage Health intends to operate two full-time vaccination clinics for the community – one already open at CHOMP and the other to open Monday, vaccine supply permitting,” said Monica Sciuto, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula spokesperson. “Together, we will have the capacity to vaccinate up to 7,500 people per week.”

Sciuto acknowledged that vaccines are still very limited for those wanting one.

“Montage Health made the decision to schedule appointments directly with community members, as opposed to using the county’s scheduling system, to streamline our process,” said Sciuto. “Our first direct appointments went live (Monday) for two clinic days this week and they filled up in 39 minutes for 1,020 spots. We expect to add additional appointments as we receive confirmation of additional vaccine supplies.”

For the Montage Health clinics, those interested should check www.chomp.org/covidvaccine daily for available clinics and appointments in Monterey and Marina. If appointments are open, click on the link and pick the day and time for a slot. After making an appointment, a confirmation email will be sent.

“If you don’t have a doctor, we would recommend establishing a connection with a medical provider,” said Sciuto. “Montage Health offers eVisits for those who do not have a doctor or need to have a medical question answered from the comfort of their own home. Visit montagehealth.org for more information.”

Natividad hospital and Mee Memorial Hospital have also started Phase 1b – tier 1 vaccination clinics as well as CSU Monterey Bay and Safeway Pharmacy at two locations in Salinas.

“Natividad is calling many of our clinic patients who are 75 and older to help schedule them for an appointment,” said Hillary Fish, Natividad spokeswoman. “Monterey County is working to get a hotline option in partnership with 211.”

On Tuesday, CVS Health announced it would begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations next week at CVS Pharmacy locations across California, including Carmel and Monterey, to those eligible. Patients must register in advance at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can contact CVS customer service at 800-746-7287. Walk-in vaccinations without an appointment will not be provided. Appointments will become available Feb. 9 as stores receive shipments of vaccine.

Contributed by local news sources

Next Post

Monterey County to dry out, warm up by weekend

MONTEREY — Although Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Tuesday, predicting six more weeks of winter, the forecast for Monterey County calls for rain to move out of the region by late Wednesday and temperatures to increase this weekend. “The weather’s going to change pretty dramatically for Thursday, Friday, Saturday to […]