For the many Humboldt residents who are still waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine, you’ve probably heard that vaccines are only available to people 65 and older, or to those who have qualifying jobs or health conditions. But Advanced I was surprised to learn today that Open Door Community Health Centers have already started vaccinating patients 55 and older.
Contacted by phone this afternoon, Arielle Manoli, Open Door Community Health Centers office manager, confirmed that the clinics made COVID-19 vaccines available to patients 55 and older starting Wednesday.
If you’re an Open Door patient, you may have already heard this news: Notifications were sent through MyChart on Wednesday, Manoli said, and staff are currently in the process of contacting eligible patients by phone.
So how is this expansion of the vaccine possible? The answer is quite simple. Open Door currently has more vaccines available than patients 65 and older, who have not yet been vaccinated. Manoli said that as more vaccines become available through mass vaccination clinics or pharmacies, Open Door staff found that many of their patients had already been vaccinated elsewhere.
“As we progressed through level 65 and above, we were actually having a hard time filling the spots,” Manoli said. “We communicate [to Public Health] that we had enough supply and availability to offer to another population and his recommendation was to go down to 55 and more ”.
Manoli said it will likely take some time for Open Door to contact all eligible patients, so if you are seeing this and are over the age of 55, you should call your local clinic to make an appointment. Open Door is administering vaccines at three of its locations: the North Country Clinic in Arcata, the Center for Telehealth and Visitation Specialists in Eureka, and the Fortuna Community Health Center.
With the state recently announcing an increase in vaccine supply and plans to distribute vaccines to more than 50 people starting April 1 and to all people over the age of 16 shortly thereafter, many people are hopeful they won’t have to wait much longer. . But, Manoli said, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Humboldt County will see that expansion right away, depending on how quickly Public Health receives the vaccine supply.
“It’s a balancing act between what the CDC is allowing and the amount of vaccines coming into the county,” he said.
And if you are an Open Door patient who is not in one of the eligible groups, you do not need to sit back and wait for the vaccine. Manoli encourages you to call and be put on the waiting list. If Open Door has additional doses, the staff will contact the people on that list so that the doses are not wasted.
Do you feel that maybe the information you have seen about vaccines is a little inconsistent? Well, Manoli says you are not alone. “Open Door is as transparent as we can be, but it is difficult,” he said. “It seems like you can get a lot of different information, depending on where you look. I would encourage people to call their primary care provider if they have any questions. ”