Kern County moves into the third tier of the first phase of Kern’s COVID-19 vaccination plan

January 11, 2021 /

The Kern County Public Health Department announced Friday it is moving into the next tier of its vaccination plan, now allowing for more Kern residents to receive the vaccine.

Effective immediately, all priority groups within Phase 1a of the COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule are now able to be vaccinated in Kern County, Kern Public Health said in a news release. The following priority groups are now eligible in Phase 1a – Tier 3: specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental and other oral health clinics, pharmacy staff not working in settings at higher tiers.

“Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most important interventions to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kern Public Health said in a statement. “Public Health is working with state and local partners to be transparent, careful, and above all, equitable in efforts to provide a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone who needs and requests vaccination.” 

Matt Constantine, the Director of Kern County Public Health Services, said last week at the Board of Supervisors meeting that 80 providers within Kern County have been approved to provide the vaccine. You can find a list of providers here.

As of Jan. 5, Kern County had received a total of 26,000 doses, excluding the doses received by health care facilities that have received vaccines directly from the state. On a weekly basis, the county receives about 3,000 to 6,000 doses.

Every individual who receives the vaccination receives two doses. The County is currently in Phase 1a, which includes three tiers.

Those next in line to receive the vaccines are individuals who fall in Tier 1 of Phase 1b, which consists of individuals 75 years and older, those at risk of exposure or sectors in education, child care, emergency services, food, and agriculture, and other frontline essential workers such as transit workers, grocery store workers, and a few others, according to Constantine. Kern has not moved to this phase yet.

It will move into this phase as a number of community providers indicate that vaccine supply is sufficient to vaccinate all individuals who are willing to get the vaccine within the Phase, said Michelle Corson, Kern Public Health’s spokeswoman.  

This tier would broaden the number of individuals who will be receiving a vaccination, therefore mass vaccination clinics will be necessitated. Kern County Public Health is relying on the 80 local health care facilities as well as growing the fairgrounds to provide the supplementary vaccines for Tier 1 and 2.

Those who will receive vaccinations under Tier 2 of Phase 1b are individuals 65-74 years of age, those at risk of exposure at work in sectors such as transportation, logistics, industrial, commercial, residential, sheltering facilities, services critical to manufacturing, those who are incarcerated, those who are homeless, and other essential workers.

Finally, the final individuals who will be receiving the vaccination as part of the Phase 1 plan Kern County are those individuals 50-64 years of age, people 16-64 years of age and have an underlying health condition or disability which increases their risk of severe COVID-19, those at risk at work of sectors such as water and wastewater, defense, energy, chemical and hazardous materials, communications and IT, financial services, government operations, and lastly, community-based essential functions, according to Constantine. 

Those in Tier one of Phase 1a are already able to receive their vaccines. This includes individuals of acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, as well as similar settings for older or medically vulnerable individuals, residents in long-term care settings, paramedics, EMTs and other providing Emergency Medical Services, and dialysis centers, according to Constantine. Tier 1 was completed on Jan. 8. 

Those in Tier 2 of Phase 1a can also receive their vaccine now. The vaccination can go to those in intermediate care facilities for persons who need non-continuous nursing supervision and supportive care, healthcare, in-home supportive services, community health care workers, including promotoras, public health field staff, primary care clinics, including federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, correctional facility clinics, and urgent care clinics.

The Kern County Public Health Department is currently working on plans for mass vaccination distribution and more details will be provided as these plans are solidified, said Corson.

For more information on the vaccine, visit Kern Public Health’s information page.