RRH Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory & Response (2.19.21): Vaccination & Eligibility Update

Kern County has today announced that it has fully opened Phase 1b Tier 1 in the vaccine allocation schedule, which in addition to 65 and older, now also includes "Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: "Education, Childcare, Emergency Services, Food and Agriculture."

At this current time, Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH) does not have any vaccine available. RRH is however due to receive a vaccine shipment next week, which will allow vaccination appointments to continue to some degree.

"In an effort to honor our commitment to those already on our waitlist, we will continue making callbacks to the age-based eligibility of 65 and older in the order received, as more vaccine becomes available," said Michelle Whalley, RRH Clinic Administrator and Vaccine Taskforce Leader. "This is going to be no easy feat, but we are determined to press on to the best of our ability. We have over 5,000 seniors 65 and older in line to call back and schedule. We are working on this in anticipation of adverse weather conditions, which have also delayed shipments and hampered our efforts this past week."

In an effort to prioritize the next vaccine shipment for those currently on the waitlist, RRH will close its vaccine appointment waitlist line this weekend (February 20-21).

Starting Monday February 22, RRH will be transferring to an online appointment booking system under a new agreement for vaccine distribution with Blue Shield.

As soon as supply improves, and additional vaccine is received for the newest tier (educators, childcare, emergency and food service workers), RRH will open up online scheduling. RRH is coordinating directly with Sierra Sands and local educational and child development centers to vaccinate their workforce based on their goals and strategies.

Whalley added, "We continue to ask for everyone's patience during this frustrating and ever-changing time. We are ready to roll this out for our community and have all processes in place to do so, as soon as we receive enough vaccine."

Kern County is currently vaccinating eligible individuals from the county vaccine schedule. For the full schedule please click here. Those persons eligible are strongly encouraged to seek vaccine appointments, wherever it becomes available to them. Click here for the Kern County Covid-19 Vaccination locations site, which will be updated as vaccines become available at each location, click here

Please continue to follow RRH social media and the dedicated website page at RRH.ORG/COVID19VACCINE for updates.