Earlier today, Nurse Practitioner Lindsey Mendez, a member of the county’s Vaccine Task Force, answered questions from local media about the county’s state COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
The questions were to be submitted before today’s big announcement from the state that the vaccine would be available to anyone 50 and older starting next week, and to all Californians starting in mid-April, so there is no question. addressed the county’s implementation of those new guidelines.
Video above, rough transcript below.
Hello, we are here for March 25 media availability with Family Nurse Specialist and COVID-19 Task Force Member Lindsey Méndez. Thanks for being with us. Would you like to start by reaching out to the community?
Yes. Hi Humboldt. This is Lindsay Mendez again to give you a brief update on vaccination and the changes that are being made at the state and county levels and how the vaccine will be distributed as we move forward. At this time, I would like to tell the community that we had a small award in the past from Janssen, but at this time we have not received an award to give. We source Moderna and Pfizer regularly, as we have in the past, but we fluctuate with the quantities we source. With that said, we will continue to have vaccine clinics throughout the county with our partners and with the public health department and we encourage you to get the first appointment that is offered to you with any vaccine that is offered to you at this time. And always remember to socially distance yourself, wear your mask, and wash your hands, as not everyone is vaccinated in Humboldt County or the world.
From KMUD News: Can you share more information on how vaccine distribution will change with the upcoming switch to MyTurn…. Do you support change?
MyTurn is a platform that is used for people to register for vaccines in the state of California. This platform is designed so that in multiple languages you can enter and see if you are eligible to get vaccinated and make an appointment. Right now in Humboldt County we are not using MyTurn, but many other counties are and we are gathering information on how it works. What we do know is that they are changing things on their platform so that zip codes … may have certain restrictions and we are not sure yet. However, as we change, we are confident that our staff in the public health department will be able to train and onboard workers in the clinics to use MyTurn appropriately for vaccine documentation and inventory. And we’re hopeful that as it opens, we can help the population sign up for an appointment that they can get the moment it’s available. Thanks.
From KMUD News: We understand that the My Turn system only works with two hospital software, which are not currently used by any of the Humboldt County hospitals. How will this affect local deployment for staff and the public?
At this time I can’t comment on how local hospitals will handle the MyTurn switch with their electronic medical record systems, but I would say that public health is handling it in a way that is appropriate to onboard their staff to learn MyTurn, both in and on. the public side and also the clinical side of how to register patients in the clinics and also how to use the documentation system.
From KMUD News: Will people from outside of our area be eligible for a vaccine in Humboldt County?
First I would like to say that the goal in the state of California and throughout the United States is to end the pandemic and vaccinate everyone, including our neighbors. Even people with whom we are not necessarily sharing a county. With that said, we are talking to MyTurn, the workers on that platform, and discussing this with Blue Shield about the concerns surrounding people who are eligible to get the vaccine and who may not be in our county. We don’t know what the turnout for that discussion will be, but we are prioritizing getting all county residents vaccinated at this time.
From KMUD News: Do you anticipate other vaccines will be approved for use in the United States?
I don’t know how to answer that question because we have not been informed that the FDA is looking to approve vaccines at this time, but we will keep you posted as we find out more vaccines that are coming to the United States. State.
From Redheaded Blackbelt: So Hum Health has started offering the vaccine to a wider range of local residents, will this also happen in North Humboldt?
Right now, the state advisory committee is giving us guidelines on how we are going to open up to a larger population. These guidelines are developed by the advisory committee and all of our local vaccinators use the advisory committee guidelines to approve vaccination status. We will be using the 16 to 64 year olds with high risk health conditions will be approved guideline, which you can find on the state website, and we will encourage people to call their primary care providers and also to call the Joint Information Center to go to the interest form if you do not have a primary care provider. Please note at this time that the vaccine supply has not always been a static number in our county and that we will reach everyone as soon as we can with the amount of vaccine that is offered to us.
From Redheaded Blackbelt: As an anecdote, some Humboldt County residents have said they are waiting for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to avoid having to give a second dose. They are postponing the appointment for currently available vaccines. Is it a bad idea? Why or why not?
As a healthcare provider, I fully understand people who want to choose the vaccine they would like to have, but I would like to remind everyone that the vaccine that is available to them is the vaccine that they should receive. Therefore, waiting for Johnson and Johnson is not necessarily helpful in achieving herd immunity or getting vaccinated quickly. We also don’t know how Janssen’s supply will get to Humboldt County and in what quantities, so if you are offered a vaccine, we recommend that you take it.
From Redheaded Blackbelt: The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been rated with an efficacy rate of between 66% and 72%. Can you talk about why the Johnson and Johnson vaccine efficacy rate differs regionally and if you know what that number looks like for Humboldt County specifically?
Therefore, at this time we do not have data on the regional efficacy of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine in Humboldt County because it was not researched that way. Drug trials continuing around the world for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and also other vaccines will continue to provide us with data on regional issues, but we don’t have that at this time. What we do know about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is that it is effective, as stated, between 66% and 72% for the large population investigated around the world. And we also know that it will decrease deaths and serious illnesses by 100% with hospitalization, so we understand that this is a great vaccine.
According to the Times-Standard: Will the county lower some thresholds for age, BMI, or other factors to make vaccines more available and avoid doses not being used?
I would like to tell the community that there is no vaccine that is not used in Humboldt County at this time. Limited supply is more of a hindrance than having too much unused vaccine. As we open up to the general population, those with high-risk conditions across many age groups, we must be aware that the supply will dictate how quickly and efficiently we can traverse these populations and that we will never waste doses.
From the Times-Standard: Have there been any challenges in staffing vaccination sites with staff who can serve Spanish or Hmong speakers?
Yes, we have been coordinating with community partners services that are both bilingual and bicultural for our vaccine clinics and we continue to ask and recruit members to come forward to help us with clerical and clerical work alongside the vaccination staff.