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Nevada County Public Health opens eligibility to 16 and older for its vaccine clinics

Grass Valley’s Deborah Hassfeld watches nurse Joey Chandler administer her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine Thursday morning at the Whispering Pines vaccination clinic in Grass Valley. Nevada County Public Health recently announced that those 16 and over will now be available to make appointments for the inoculation through the MyTurn app.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

Dave Kecy chooses not to look as he receives his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Nalini Wilzbach Thursday morning at the Whispering Pines vaccine clinic.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

Whispering Pines Physician’s Assistant Donna Tully shows a representation of the vaccine’s antibodies attaching to the COVID-19 virus.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

A special cooler is used by clinicians to keep Pfizer vaccines at the correct temperature Thursday at the Whispering Pines vaccine facility. A new cooler has been installed and will soon be used by facility staff.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

Nevada City’s Emily Baumstinger is called back to receive her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday in Grass Valley. Those 16 and over can now look to make their appointments for the vaccine on the MyTurn app.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

A tray of syringes filled with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are ready to be administered Thursday at the Whispering Pines vaccine clinic.
Photo: Elias Funez

 

 

A Grass Valley resident walks to her exam room where she will receive a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at the Whispering Pines vaccine clinic.
Photo: Elias Funez

Nevada County Public Health announced Thursday that it has opened up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older at its clinics, two weeks before the eligibility is set to expand to this group statewide.

According to a release, this expansion in eligibility is for Public Health clinics specifically.

“Public Health has seen the availability in our appointment scheduling system increase in the last few weeks, so we have opened up eligibility for Nevada County Public Health clinics to everyone 16 and older,” states the release.



Eligibility also opened to those 50 and older at all providers Thursday as part of a statewide expansion in eligibility.

In YubaNet’s weekly Vaccinate Nevada County webinar Thursday, Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver said, “It’s really key that we start to get to the younger populations that are really driving some of the spread.”



He explained that, in the county’s reported cases over the last week, only 5% have been in people 65 and older, in contrast to that group being around 20% throughout the pandemic.

On why the county decided to open eligibility up for Public Health clinics ahead of time, he said that it was a better option to have appointments fill more quickly than to have them go unfilled because the eligibility is too restrictive.

“I think there will continue to be a gap between the number of people that are eligible and how much is actually available in terms of appointments for some time,” said Gruver. “We are expecting there to be enough vaccine down the road, and that’s partly why we’re doing this, so that it continues to be that we’re filling up appointments as fast as we get them.”

According to Nevada County senior administrative analyst Jenn Tamo, MyTurn made appointments available to those 50 and older in the system Monday evening.

This means that age group may be among those who were vaccinated Thursday, or will be today, if they were able to secure an appointment. According to Nevada County Public Information Officer Taylor Wolfe, appointments for these two days were still available as late as Tuesday morning.

New appointments for next week at Nevada County Public Health’s Whispering Pines clinic are scheduled to become available on MyTurn today around noon, according to Public Health.

Those 16 and older will be eligible statewide beginning April 15.

According to Public Health, the Pfizer vaccine is the only one that those 16 and 17 years old can receive, so they will need to make sure they are signing up for a clinic which offers it, such as Whispering Pines. They are also required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian at their appointment.

As of Thursday, 46,837 doses have been administered to Nevada County residents, according to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

‘IT’S COLLABORATION’

Physician’s Assistant Donna Tully, manager of the Whispering Pines clinic, said Thursday that the clinic has been administering around 300 doses per day.

“All the way through, it’s collaboration,” said Tully, explaining that the clinic’s staff communicate with some patients’ primary care doctors if they are higher risk, as they want the patients to feel sure of their decision to be vaccinated.

According to Tully, staffing has been stable at the clinic. She said that while most currently employed at the clinic are temps, many have said they will remain there as long as is needed.

“I am just so excited. I am blessed I was able to get this vaccine, and it was ready in record time,” Grass Valley resident Deborah Hassfeld said Thursday, just after receiving her second dose. “It’s amazing. It’s a miracle during a horrible, horrible time.”

Grass Valley resident Michele Hall said she was “thrilled” as she waited in the observation area following her second dose, adding that the process of getting the shot was “incredibly well organized.”

“The hard part was kind of waiting until they could figure out when they could get the vaccine, but I’m really appreciative of everything that’s going on here,” said Hall.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

LEARN MORE

Watch YubaNet’s full webinar:

http://www.youtube.com/c/Yubanet1

Nevada County COVID-19 Vaccine Info:

http://www.mynevadacounty.com/3148/Get-Vaccine-Information

Providers in Nevada County:

http://www.mynevadacounty.com/3183/Get-Vaccinated

MyTurn:

myturn.ca.gov

 


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