Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital began administering the first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations to its staff on Wednesday as soon as they received a shipment of 230 doses sent by the state.
On Dec. 16, the hospital posted on its Facebook page that they “immediately began the process of vaccinating employees and physicians.” The hospital will administer the first 115 doses from Dec. 16-19 and the remaining 115 doses between Dec. 21-24.
“Vaccines are being spaced out among the staff in order to account for any side effects that may occur, so as not to diminish staffing capacities. Side effects are reported to be mild flu-like symptoms,” hospital officials said.
Hazel Hawkins officials said that those working on the front line, direct patient care workers in the acute care setting and employees from the skilled nursing facilities are eligible for the vaccine during this first batch of immunizations.
On Jan. 6, employees and physicians that received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to receive their second dose, according to hospital officials.
They anticipate a shipment of 300 new doses of the Moderna vaccine to arrive on Dec. 23, which will be offered to additional employees who have direct or indirect patient contact.
“As more vaccine is made available, it will be offered to all other ancillary and support personnel. It is the intent of HHMH to have all hospital and SNF employees that wish to be vaccinated, receive their vaccines by the end of January,” the hospital said.
San Benito County officials are reporting that they are preparing and planning to receive a batch of the Covid-19 vaccine sometime this week.
County public information officer David Westrick issued a press release on Dec. 16 stating that the county will be allocated 230 of the 327,000 Pfizer vaccines that California received this week. He said the county will follow the national tier system directing the first vaccinations to health care workers who were on the front lines and at the highest risk of contracting the coronavirus.
“We are working closely with our partners to plan and prepare for vaccine distribution, as part of our commitment to the health and safety of the community,” said Dr. David Ghilarducci, County interim Health Officer. “This vaccine, and others to come will play the key role in protecting our front-line healthcare staff and making sure our hospital can continue to provide care for our county.”
The California Department of Public Health’s tiered system for Covid-19 vaccine prioritization was mandated by both the federal government and the state government.
There will be four phases rolled out per federal and state directives starting with Phase 1a, then followed by Phase 1b, Phase 2 and Phase 3.
The opening phase includes three tiers starting with “Tier 1,” which includes staff in acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals. Staff and residents in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals are also included in the first tier. Others include paramedics, EMTs and staff in dialysis centers.
The second level, “Tier 2,” is for primary care clinics including federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, correctional facility clinics and urgent care clinics. Others in the second tier include intermediate care and those who need non-continuous nursing supervision along with home health care and in-home supportive services. Community health workers including promotoras, or health workers, public health field staff are also on the list.
The third and final level, “Tier 3,” is for other settings and health care workers such as specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental/oral health clinics and pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers.
“It is critical that people continue to practice the strongest personal preventive measures such as wearing a mask, avoiding social congregation and practicing social distancing over the next six months to ensure that we remain healthy until we all can finally be protected once vaccinated,” said Dr. George Gellert, Deputy Health Officer of San Benito County.
Westrick said the vaccine will come out in batches and the county doesn’t know when the vaccine will be made available to everyone.
“We believe vaccines may become widely available by mid-2021,” he said in the press release.
Westrick said that any county health care providers interested in enrolling in the state Covid-19 vaccination program as a provider should contact Public Health Services at 831.637.5367.