Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mendocino County Public Health Hosts a Vaccination Clinic Inoculating Frontline Healthcare Workers


The following statement and captions were published on the Mendocino County Public Health Facebook Page

Lily Robison is a Family Nurse Practitioner and a medical provider at Hillside Health Center in Ukiah. “Working providers like me are being exposed to the virus every day, so I am here to protect myself, my family and my patients. This is real. People are dying. What’s the worst thing that can come out of getting the vaccine? We either have to suffer from effects of COVID or give this vaccine a chance. We know what’s going on with the virus. I have two children at home. If everyone can remember we all have children, friends and people we care about, we can open doors to a better future.”

On Tuesday, December 22nd, the County of Mendocino held its first COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Carl Purdy Hall, located at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah.

The clinic is the first of what Public Health Officer Andrew Cohen describes as a watershed moment for county residents. The plans for the clinic’s operation were based on recommendations from the county’s former Public Health Officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan. She continues to support the county’s pandemic response in an advisory capacity and considers this project to be a culmination of her career. “Getting the vaccine is an altruistic act,” notes Dr. Doohan. “Everything about the vaccine is to help our community help others.” “

In order to determine who receives the vaccine first, we follow rigorous guidelines from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health,” explains Dr. Coren. A maximum of 72 doses was available to “Phase 1a” individuals- frontline healthcare workers. Sixty individuals were scheduled, but because some vials of the vaccine can contain extra medicine, 12 additional people were placed on a standby list.

Justin Ebert is a Physician’s Assistant, the Medical Director of Mendocino Community Health Center and the Battalion Chief of the Redwood Valley/Calpella Fire Department.

He was one of the first in line to receive the Pfizer vaccine at Mendocino County’s first vaccination event- one of many to come.

“The only thing getting us out of the pandemic is this vaccine. If anyone is in a position to catch the virus, it’s me. My parents are high risk. I’m doing this for them, my family and to set an example for my crew. This was easy,” he smiled.

The clinic was staffed by physicians, RN’s from the Public Health Department’s Division of Communicable Disease and Immunization, additional county staff, and 12 volunteers, some of whom are also medical personnel.

Security personnel directed individuals to the site, where they entered through one door and exiting through another. Pre-screening confirmed their membership in the Phase 1a tier and a brief health check to rule out COVID-19 symptoms. Contact information was scrupulously documented to ensure each person will receive their “booster” vaccine within Pfizer’s prescribed 21-day window.

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Cohorts were scheduled in groups of 15, directed to chairs spaced ten feet apart. After receiving instructions, they relocated to another set of seats where they received their vaccine and completed a post-vaccination observation period. Two people were vaccinated at a time, with the entire group receiving the vaccine in about 5 minutes.

MedStar EMS workers were on hand to care for anyone having adverse reactions to the vaccine. Based on reports of over 500,000 people who have received the Pfizer vaccine in the United States, the rate of serious symptoms such as an anaphylactic reaction has been approximately one in 100,000 people.

Sebastian Obergan is an EMT with Med Star. “When we were asked, ‘Who wants the vaccine?’ I had no hesitation. I know people are concerned, but I was in the military for four years. I had approximately 30 to 40 mandatory vaccines during that time and I never had any issues.”

With the assistance of Adventist Health Ukiah, the first batch of vaccine was stored at the hospital while the county awaited receipt of its ultra-cold freezer. “Mendocino County’s freezer has now arrived,” notes CEO Carmel Angelo. “And we are anticipating the arrival of our first batch of Moderna vaccines in the very near future.”

Dr. Coren noted it will take time for the general population to be vaccinated. Currently, the CDC is still finalizing the next vaccination phases, but for now, the 975 doses of the county’s Pfizer vaccine are allocated to those in frontline healthcare positions.

Jasmin Pintane is the Director of Nursing at Mendocino Community Health Clinic in Ukiah. “It’s been a long time since March, and I am so ready for the vaccine,” she explains. “We are all connected to someone with health issues. It’s our loved ones we need to protect. I would do anything to get beyond COVID, because at the clinic, we’ve seen it all. It’s also my duty to empower my staff- some of whom came with me today. I felt very safe here today.”

“The Mendocino County Pandemic Response Team rose to the occasion one more time on Tuesday with the rollout of our very first county-operated COVID vaccine clinic. This is public health in action. Thank you to our great team for managing this enormous, complex endeavor, and thank you to our dedicated healthcare workers who stepped up to receive their first vaccine today. We are all in this together,” CEO Angelo concludes.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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