MONTEREY, Calif. (KION-TV)
More vaccine is headed to South Monterey County, a region heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and logistics of storing the vaccine.
Mee Memorial Hospital received the ultra-cold freezer desperately needed to hold thousand of doses of the Pfizer vaccine, thanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
“It really is an opportunity for us to extend out help and particularly to the farm working community in South County," says Barbara Meister, Director of Public Affairs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Pfizer product requires a temperature normal freezers cannot reach, to this point, only Moderna vaccines have been offered.
Doctor Joshua Deutsch, a family physician at Mee Memorial, says demand in South County is high. With their doses previously limited to just one company...it made things challenging.
“These are very difficult decisions because there just aren’t enough vaccines to go around and there’s a lot of deserving people and we’re competing with Salinas and other distribution sites," says Deutsch.
One of the biggest challenges is that people in the South County area often have to travel elsewhere for the vaccine.
“More people are going to have a harder time driving up to Salinas than folks from Salinas are going to be able to have driving down to South County, our folks are limited by transportation," says Deutsch.
Doctor Deutsch says bringing in more vaccines will help the local vulnerable population become first in line to get the vaccine.
He adds the predominantly Latino and farm worker community is having a hard time navigating the vaccine appointment system, which requires emails and internet access...something many people there do not have.
However, the county is starting to work around that.