SACRAMENTO COUNTY (CBS13) — Despite being months away from a vaccine becoming widely available, states and cities are rushing to come up with distribution plans. As anticipation grows on when a COVID-19 vaccine will arrive, Sacramento County knows exactly how they plan to distribute it.
“We want to be doing several thousand vaccinations per day initially,” said Sacramento County Health Services Director, Dr. Peter Bielenson.
Preparation’s price tag is nearly three million dollars. The county stocking up on supplies, cold storage needed to preserve vaccines and outreach campaigns. Bielenson says $250,000 of those funds will pay for trucks and trailers to transport supplies to medical points of dispensing sites called MPODs.
“We want to be sure, seeing what has happened in the past, that we have at least some materials on hand syringes, refrigeration, ect., to be able to give out some of the vaccine,” he said.
So what is an MPOD? The county says they are pop-up clinics in neighborhoods across the region including sites like Sleep Train Arena and Cal Expo, designed to quickly distribute the vaccine to massive amounts of people.
“We will work in a similar way that we have been giving the virus test and flu shots,” he explained. “Large drive-thru’s where people can get the vaccine quickly,” Bielenson explained.
The task to vaccinate everyone becomes difficult in a county that has more than a million people. Dr. Bielenson explains one of the biggest hurdles is getting everyone vaccinated.
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“It’s absolutely crucial. We are not going to get herd immunity by letting everyone get the virus,” he explained.
The county is working with community-based organizations to get the word out. UC Davis infectious disease expert Dr. Dean Blumberg says communication plays a large role in how successful counties are in their plans.
“If there is any loss of confidence in the vaccine or if people feel like it is not working, people are not going to want to be vaccinated and then we are going to have to continue our current measures of extreme social distancing and masking and the economy will continue to suffer,” he said.
Their hopeis the quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the sooner life can get back to normal.