This is Pam Marino, Monterey County Weekly’s health reporter, coming off of today’s Monterey County Board of Supervisors meeting. This afternoon, they focused on figuring out how to get as many people vaccinated against Covid-19 as possible.
Maybe you remember the old UPS jingle, set to the tune of the Dean Martin song, “That’s Amore.” Instead of the moon hitting your eye like a big pizza pie, the UPS ditty goes, “When the things that you need come at just the right speed, that’s logistics.”
We heard a good example of logistics from Monterey County Contracts and Purchasing Officer Mike Derr, who laid out how his team already has 32 locations, large and small, identified as possible points of distribution, or PODs, for vaccination clinics in the county.
Add in all the schools under the Monterey County of Education that could be used as PODs and there are 91 total sites the county either currently has under contract or will soon.
It takes more than a location, it takes teams of people. Derr outlined how staff have been identifying everyone needed from traffic management to people to manage supplies both medical and non-medical.
“That's what we're doing behind the scenes, and we are ready to rock and roll once we are called upon,” Derr told the supervisors today.
Before Derr’s presentation, Office of Emergency Services Manager Gerry Malais reported that, so far, 64 people with medical training have volunteered with the county to give vaccinations once the PODs are up and running.
They did the math, Malais told the supervisors. If each volunteer vaccinator is able to give 15 vaccinations per hour, that’s 7,500 doses administered in a single event.
If only Monterey County had enough vaccines to do it.
Monterey County Health Officer Edward Moreno kicked off the afternoon session by stating that at the rate we’re going—receiving 2,000-4,000 doses per week from the state—it would take 32 months to achieve herd immunity, just among adults.
Since the two vaccines currently available, made by Pfizer (with BioNTech) and Moderna, require two doses, he said we’d need at least 514,000 doses for adults. We’d still need to vaccinate 80 percent of the children, but vaccines for them are still in development.
Just a couple of hours before the deluge of Covid-19 vaccination data in Salinas, back in Washington, D.C. our new president was announcing he could deliver more of what the county needs.
The federal government is completing a deal with Pfizer and Moderna to secure an additional 200 million doses of vaccine by the end of summer, boosting the U.S. order by 50 percent, according to President Joe Biden.
The order is now up from 400 million to 600 million, which is estimated to vaccinate 300 million Americans by Biden’s estimate of the end of summer or early fall. That was reported by the county’s federal legislative advocate, Brent Heberlee of the firm Ballard Spahr, addressing the supervisors today. Biden also promised a release of additional Moderna vaccines beginning next week from 8.6 million to 10 million doses per week, Heberlee said.
When the things that you need come at just the right speed…we might start getting enough vaccines to put the county’s mass logistics strategy in motion.
There was much more to today’s meeting about equity of vaccine distribution from a variety of angles, including whether Monterey County is getting its fair share from the state.The supervisors voted to send a letter to state officials to make the case for why the county needs attention.
A large part of that has to do with getting farmworkers vaccinated. For more on that, look to The Local Spin column by Mary Duan in Thursday’s print issue of Monterey County Weekly.
-Pam Marino, staff writer, email@example.com