Dear Patients of Sansum Clinic,
I am writing with an update on the COVID-19 vaccine situation. Based on the number of calls and messages we get each day, we know everyone is eager for information about who can get vaccinated and when. It can be challenging to communicate our plans as they are constantly evolving, but in an effort to answer as many questions as we can, here is an update to my email from last week.
We had hoped to begin scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations for people age 75 and above starting this week. Unfortunately, due to ongoing limited vaccine distribution from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the vaccine supply remains very limited in Santa Barbara County.
To add to that challenge, you may have seen in the news yesterday that there is a potential concern with a single lot of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that has been delivered throughout California. There was a higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions reported at one of the 287 sites that received doses from this lot, in which 10 or so patients required medical attention over the span of 24 hours. The California Public Health Department (wisely) recommended to pause the administration of vaccines from that lot until further investigation is complete, which is now holding up the administration of 330,000 doses delivered to the 287 sites. We had previously received 500 doses from this particular lot (and have yet not administered them); we will be pausing the use of that lot until the CDC/CDPH performs a further investigation and gives the green light for their use. The news release with more information can be found here.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be providing 500 doses of Moderna to help us in the short run to be able to provide second-doses to those now due, but they too have limited supplies. The fact that the need to delay using a single batch of vaccine causes us to delay vaccinating a large group of people will tell you how tenuous the supply chain is.
This is frustrating, because while everyone is eager to get vaccinated, we are just as eager to give vaccines! We have built the computer and staffing infrastructure needed and have given enough vaccine to healthcare workers to know we can administer high volumes of vaccinations efficiently. We are ready to go. But, until we know we have doses to give, we can’t open up to big groups of patients. As a result, we will need to delay initial vaccine doses for patients age 75 and above by at least one week, or until we have enough supply to ensure we can open up to the first phase of our patient population.
Again, as we have mentioned before, when we are able to provide vaccine to people we will let that group know via email (if we have their email) or via regular mail. If you can get vaccinated through our partners at the Santa Barbara COUNTY Public Health Department or the local hospitals, we encourage you to do that, while we wait to get vaccine to give.
We will continue to update you as we know more about the supply of vaccine. This is as frustrating for us as it is for you.