Vaccine has arrived in the community. To build a hedge of protection, it is being administered to healthcare professionals and residents of skilled nursing and long-term care facilities. It is important that medical capacity be preserved and these initial inoculations go toward that greater good.
We must have professionals available when we need them. Keeping these individuals, and those in the vulnerable position of residential care, healthy benefits all of us.
January 15 marks the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being diagnosed in the United States. Each of you have made sacrifices to get us to this point of preparing to return to some normalcy. Lifestyles, livelihoods and relationships have all been affected. Working together, with the best interest of the community in mind, has seen us through this far and will be necessary in the coming months, too.
Unfortunately, there is no timeline for getting vaccine to members of the public. There is a tier system, shown below, which will provide the structure for getting everyone vaccinated in an orderly manner. We are currently in Phase 1-A. There is no timeline for moving between phases. Klamath County Public Health will continue to provide updates on vaccine availability and where we are in the tier system.
Our dedicated vaccine page can be found at http://www.klamathcounty.org/1117/COVID-19-vaccine
There are two vaccines from separate manufacturers currently available throughout the nation. Demand far exceeds supply and patience will be needed for the foreseeable future. Klamath County Public Health is working with Sky Lakes Medical Center to serve those in Phase 1-A; we will continue that partnership and expand to other clinics and vaccine providers as more vaccine is available.
Some local long-term care facilities enrolled in the Walgreens/CVS pharmacy program. Although there is not a Walgreens/CVS facility in Klamath County, professionals will be sent from those businesses to vaccinate those enrolled. Those local long-term care facilities not enrolled will work with Klamath County Public Health to ensure residents and staff are vaccinated.
Again, Oregon is currently in Phase 1-A. There are about 400,000 people in that tier who need to be vaccinated. The vaccine requires two doses in order to be effective. This morning data was available through Monday and nearly 26,000 have received the first dose, including 729 people in Klamath County.
Klamath County Public Health will receive 200 doses this week to continue work toward vaccinating those in Phase 1-A. These doses were originally announced as being available in February, which provides promise for more vaccine in the coming weeks. However, the situation changes almost daily on local, state and federal levels.
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for continuing to practice good hand hygiene, social distancing and mask use. Thank you for holding hope for a better day. Happy New Year.