Donald A. Promnitz">

Vaccination image via whitesession on Pixabay

published on December 14, 2020 - 1:51 PM
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While a return to normalcy is likely still a ways off, the Central Valley and the country at large may be ready to take the first crucial step with the approval of the Covid-19 vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this weekend.

The most vulnerable may not need to wait long with the announcement Monday that the first 7,800 doses of the vaccine would arrive in Fresno County within 24 hours. According to Joseph Prado, community health division manager for the Fresno County Department of Public Health, there should be approximately 14,800 doses of Moderna delivered by the end of December. A plan is also reportedly in the works to administer the vaccine on-site to skilled nursing facilities in the county.

It was also announced that Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals (including Fresno) would receive deliveries of the first doses on Wednesday and Thursday.

“After nine months of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are encouraged by the approval of vaccines which will serve as vital tools for controlling and eventually ending this public health crisis that has caused so much loss, pain and disruption around the world,” said Michelle Gaskill-Hames, senior vice president of health plan and hospital operations for Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

The California Department of Public Health will distribute the vaccine in three phases, starting with those identified to be the most vulnerable to exposure and/or the adverse effects of Covid-19, including health care workers and the elderly.

According to the California Department of Managed Health Care, insurance plans regulated under them must cover the vaccine without co-pay or deductibles.

Kaiser expects allocations to be limited at first, and are focusing on health care workers as part of Phase 1.

“As supplies become more plentiful, we will vaccinate more health care workers, prioritized by their roles, patient-facing and employee-facing activities and risk of exposure,” Gaskill-Hames said.

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