Vaccinations begin for frontline workers at Lake Tahoe

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Amidst a snowstorm and facing record numbers of coronavirus cases, the vaccination has arrived at Lake Tahoe.

Barton Emergency Department physician Michael Habicht, MD, smiles from behind his mask while receiving the first dose of his COVID-19 vaccine. Provided

Barton Health received 500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the state, and inoculation has begun for healthcare workers on Barton’s frontline.

As with other counties in the state, this first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine is specifically allocated for healthcare workers and hospital Skilled Nursing Facility residents, under California’s tiered vaccination rollout. Each state leads the prioritization and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccination, based on federal guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

An additional 200 Moderna vaccines from the state are expected to arrive at Barton later this month as part of the first phase of vaccine administration from the California Department of Public Health.

Following state and federal guidelines, Barton Health has begun inoculating healthcare workers on its frontline, after receiving 500 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Provided

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine gives us a sense of hope and relief,” said Dr. Clint Purvance, President & CEO at Barton Health in a press release. “It provides our healthcare workers with an important level of protection, in addition to personal protective equipment, surge operations, and other steps Barton takes to protect our team. We look forward to the continued rollout of the vaccination with state and county public health partners.”

Under the direction of CDPH and following CDC guidelines, Barton is managing the vaccination’s two-dose administration and recommended schedule for its workforce and skilled nursing residents. Barton anticipates supporting community inoculation efforts in partnership with state and county health agencies in early 2021 once the respective tiered rollout plans are announced.

The next phases of vaccine distribution to El Dorado County and Douglas County residents will be determined by public health departments:

Alix Belik, RN, a nurse in critical patient care areas at Barton Memorial Hospital receives her first COVID-19 inoculation. Provided

El Dorado County’s information on COVID-19 vaccine distribution can be viewed here.

Douglas County’s public vaccine distribution will be through Carson City Health & Human Services

“Our medical community feels confident about the science and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine we are receiving, and as partners in our community’s health we are eager to support its administration,” said Dr. Matthew Wonnacott, Chief Medical Officer at Barton Health.

While the initial phase of vaccinations is underway, Barton continues to operate in its implemented surge plan to keep patients and healthcare workers safe, and meet the increased need for critical care during the pandemic.

The community is urged to remain committed to slowing the spread of COVID-19 by wearing face masks, maintaining hand hygiene and physical distancing practices, and avoiding indoor gatherings with others not living in the immediate household.

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