National Vaccine Slowdown Felt in Sonoma County

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Sonoma County is seeing the impacts of a sometimes chaotic rollout of the coronavirus vaccine nationwide, as county health officials received a smaller than expected shipment of the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.

Instead of the expected three boxes of Pfizer vaccine, only two arrived at the county health lab. Each box contains 975 doses and each dose will be critical as the county and regional healthcare systems work to offer shots to front line healthcare workers and long term care staff and residents in the coming days.

Another shipment of vaccine from Moderna, approved last Friday, was expected to arrive this week. But Sonoma County has received word those 5800 doses won’t be here before December 28th or 29th.

About 20 thousand people in Sonoma County will be offered vaccinations in the top tier, 1A, which has been broken into three subtiers based on priority need.

Across the county EMT’s and paramedics will be offered shots beginning on Tuesday and the vaccine will also begin to reach others in the healthcare community outside of hospitals and acute care facilities in the coming days. These include workers in dialysis centers and psychiatric clinics among others.

Only after all 20 thousand Sonoma County residents and workers in Tier 1A have been offered vaccine will it be offered to those in lower tiers. The Tier 1B group that comes next includes police officers, firefighters, teachers, agricultural workers, many public facing essential workers and residents over the age of 75. Tier 1C includes people over the age of 65, and those with high risk medical conditions.

Although no one knows for sure, county health officials expect the vaccine won’t be offered to the general public until late spring. One additional complicating factor is that up to 4 vaccines may be approved and in the supply pipeline by late January.

Walgreens and CVS will be partnering with government to set up mobile clinics to get the vaccine into long term care facilities in Sonoma County and across the nation.

Sonoma County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase said on Monday that this group is a priority after a spate of cases and deaths in recent months. Although the rate of infection in long term care facilities has slowed considerably, there has been a troubling recent uptick recently in cases among staff workers.

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