Shot in the Arm

It’s a toss-up between a waiting game and a guessing game for Covid-19 vaccinations in Monterey County. With limited vaccine doses flowing in from the state and federal governments, many residents are left waiting for their turn. Once it is their turn, it can be a bit of a guessing game trying to figure out the how and where of finding a vaccination clinic.

The Weekly compiled this guide to make things a little easier for anyone interested in receiving a Covid-19 vaccination, even if they have a long wait. Save this guide for future use and pay attention for updates as the vaccination situation unfolds. As we’ve learned in this pandemic, change comes often.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINATION?

As of Feb. 17 in Monterey County, the following people are eligible under guidelines set by the California Department of Public Health and the Monterey County Health Department:

• Health care workers

• Residents age 75 and above

• Residents age 65-74 in the following industries: food and agriculture; education and childcare; emergency services

• Residents age 65-74 in the following zip codes, based on health equity standards set by the CDPH:

• North County: 95012, 95039, 95076

• Peninsula & Big Sur: 93933, 93955

• Salinas: 93901, 93905, 93906

• South County: 93926, 93927, 93930, 93960

As more vaccine doses begin to arrive, the Health Department will open up vaccinations to more groups.

Visit myturn.ca.gov to determine if you are eligible. If you are not, you can indicate that you want to be notified when you do become eligible.

HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?

County health officials encourage people with primary care physicians to call your doctor directly. Not all doctors are carrying the vaccines, but some in larger clinics might. Some, like those in the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System are calling patients directly. For others, the list below includes links and phone numbers. If you aren't successful at first, keep trying as sometimes appointments open up due to cancellations.

• Monterey County Health Department, Natividad Medical Center, Mee Memorial Hospital: mcvaccinate.com

• Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula: bit.ly/chomp-covid-vaccines

• CVS Pharmacy: cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine

• Safeway Pharmacy: mhealthappointments.com/covidappt

• Alliance on Aging: This nonprofit is working with the Visiting Nurses Association on scheduling pop-up clinics. For English, call 831-646-4931; for Spanish, 831-646-5043. For more information, go to allianceonaging.org.

• Veterans Administration: 650-496-2535

More sites will become available as additional vaccines arrive into the county. Pay attention to news updates as occasionally pop-up clinics will be announced. 

Note: If you're having troubles signing up via the internet, try switching browsers. Reportedly Chrome works best with the county's appointment system.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE COMPUTER ACCESS?

The 211 service by United Way Monterey County is helping people with no computer access or skills to sign up over the phone. Dial 211, and follow instructions for accessing the vaccination help desk. A representative will do the registration process for you. This service is only for those who truly cannot sign up on their own via the internet.

The representatives are using the county’s vaccine registration website only. If appointments are full, you will be told to call back another day.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

• Monterey County Covid-19 call center: 831-769-8700, covid19@co.monterey.ca.us

• United Way: call 211

• For seniors, call the Alliance on Aging: English, 831-646-4931; Spanish, 831-646-5043

• For veterans, call the Monterey County Military and Veterans Affairs Office: 831-647-7613

WILL THE VACCINATION COST ME ANYTHING?

The vaccine itself is provided at no cost to recipients, paid for by taxpayers through the federal government.

The agency, physician or pharmacy administering the vaccine may charge an administration fee, which in turn may be covered by health insurance. For uninsured patients, whoever is giving your vaccine can get the fee reimbursed through a federal fund.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?

Proof of age and in some cases, like health care workers, proof of profession. Proof of profession could include things like an ID badge or pay stub combined with a photo ID. Documents showing residency are not required. If you have insurance, MediCal or Medicare bring that information too, just in case.

Documents accepted to prove age (bring one):

• Driver’s license

• California ID card or REAL ID card

• Social Security card

• Military ID

• Passport

WHAT ABOUT A SECOND DOSE?

You should be able to schedule your second dose at the time of your first-dose appointment. If you can’t keep the second appointment, call the agency that administered the vaccine as soon as possible to reschedule. It’s critical to receive the second dose for the vaccination to be effective. It’s effective if you get it up to four days earlier than recommended (Pfizer: 21 days; Moderna: 28 days) or up to six weeks after, but it’s best not to wait too long.

¿DONDE PUEDO ENCONTRAR INFORMACIÓN EN ESPAÑOL?

• El condado de Monterey tiene información en inglés y español: mcvaccinate.com

• O llame al: 831-769-8700

*Nota: Para cambiar el lenguaje en la página de internet del condado de Monterey. Vaya a la parte superior derecha de la página. Dele click a “Select language.” Seleccione “Spanish” y verá el contenido en español.

WHERE ARE THE VACCINATION CLINICS?

Currently there is no agency or clinic that will take walk-ins without an appointment. That may come at a later date, should there be enough vaccines for the county, state or federal government to set up a mass vaccination site.

Here’s a list of current clinic locations for reference.

• CHOMP: 23625 Holman Highway, Monterey

• Montage Wellness Center: 2920 2nd Ave., Marina

• Natividad Medical Center: Building 400 Suite 101, 1441 Constitution Blvd., Salinas

• Mee Memorial Hospital: Room 19, 300 Canal St., King City

• Safeway Pharmacies: 1546 N. Main St. and 1516 Constitution Blvd., both in Salinas

• CVS Pharmacies: Monterey and Salinas, specific locations provided upon registration at cvs.com/covid-19-vaccine

• CSUMB Lot 59: sometimes used by the Health Department as a drive-thru clinic

• Major General William H. Gourley VA-DoD Outpatient Clinic: 201 9th St., Marina; for veterans already in the VA system

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(2) comments

Pauline Troia

To add clarification to the tier opening yesterday for educators 65 and over, my husband was scheduled at CHOMP in that category and they called our home to cancel b cause my husband is primarily teaching remotely. As almost all educators are! This was pretty distressing as the county website does not state any limitation on the educators who are now eligible. We hear many hot that cancellation call.

Leigh Stevens

The information about making an appointment for a second vaccine dose is incorrect as contained in the MC Weekly e-mail of 2/17/21. Per the Monterey County Covid website under the heading "POST VACCINE INFORMATION": You will receive your second dose of the vaccine (21 days later for Pfizer, 28 days for Moderna) at the same site you received your first dose. A link to schedule your second dose appointment will be sent via email approximately one week prior to the second clinic. Further comment: correct information on vaccines is sometimes hard to come by, but the aforementioned can be seen on the Monterey County Health Dept. web site. Bad information MC Weekly!

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