RRH reports vaccine shortage

RRH reports vaccine shortageBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

After administering some 1,800 vaccinations to healthcare employees and other eligible members, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital announced late last week that it was out of supply and had little information on when more would be available.

“We will resume vaccinations as soon as we receive more vaccine,” said the release. “Once again, we thank the community for their continued patience and support during this frustrating time. We are eager to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Shortly after lifting the stay-at-home-order, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a restructuring of the vaccine roll out in an effort to “build a system to equitably and efficiently administer vaccines,” according to a California Government Operations Agency release. However shortages have affected vaccine clinics nationwide.

Education, childcare and emergency services personnel would have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but the state has moved away from industry-based tiers to focus on age and underlying risk. Currently the vaccine is being prioritized for those 65 years and older.

The hospital announced Monday that those scheduled for their second dose of vaccine should still try to make their appointment, even if it’s outside the 28-day windows from their first dose per CDC recommendations. The hospital is not able to make appointments for new patients needing their first dose.

“If there are any changes to the vaccine availability for the second dose, an RRH representative will contact you,” said the release.

“Due to the current shortage, we would like to remind the community of other vaccine providers in Kern County that may offer solutions for first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine.”

According to Kern County Public Health’s website, other locations include the Save-on pharmacy in Ridgecrest, three Tehachapi locations and multiple sites in Bakersfield.

As of Feb. 3, RRH has detected 1,508 positive COVID tests locally, up from 1,442 a week before. The hospital has administered nearly 9,800 tests with a positivity rate of roughly 19 percent in the last seven days.

Ken County is reporting a positivity rate of 14.2 percent – one of the highest in the state – with its ICU capacity at 87%. KCPH is encouraging more testing in an effort to keep the positivity rate down, as well as continually advising members of the public to wash hands, wear masks and practice physical distancing.

For updates on local vaccinations, visit rrh.org/covid19vaccine.

Pictured: Andrew Mattas, Kern County EMS, Holly Lawrence, RRH Materials Management Manager, and Dawn Blandon, RRH Senior Pharmacy Buyer, search for ways to accommodate the community for vaccinations as vaccine supply is not currently available. — Courtesy Photo

Story First Published: 2021-02-05