DPHSS works to get vaccines to clinics; requests additional 40K doses

JUST A PINCH: Guam Regional Medical City vice president and Chief Nursing Officer Jennifer Cruz administers Pfizer vaccine shot to a local resident during a mass vaccination held at GRMC on Friday.  Dontana Keraskes/The Guam Daily Post

The Department of Public Health and Social Services continues to work with Evergreen Clinic, as well as other local private clinics, to ensure they receive COVID-19 vaccines for their patients.

Janela Carrera, DPHSS spokeswoman, responded to Evergreen’s Dr. Faraz Ouhadi, who voiced concerns about lack of communication and the delay his clinic is facing in receiving the vaccines.

Carrera said DPHSS had been in touch with Evergreen as well as several dozen other clinics since last October. Of the 52 clinics that DPHSS reached out to, 38 initially agreed and two were undecided.

Carrera said the Evergreen was among the 12 who declined to participate in the vaccination program. However, in December, clinic representatives informed DPHSS that they would be participating and submitted Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forms. She did note that in early January, DPHSS received an email from the clinic asking why they weren’t on the vaccination committee’s list of approved providers.

Carrera explained, however, that there were some pending CDC requirements that Evergreen needed to meet, which they’re now working together on.

“We did a site visit was Jan. 14 and provided them with a digital data logger, which monitors the temperature inside of the refrigerator and logs the temperature regularly to ensure it meets the (vaccine makers’) requirements,” Carrera said.

She said Public Health will review the log after a few days to ensure that the refrigeration and storage unit meets the temperature requirement. Following that Evergreen will need to be registered on the CDC data base and staff will need to be trained.

In the meantime, SDA Clinic is expected to get their requested Moderna vaccines today.

Already, American Medical Center has started inoculating some of their patients who are 60 and older.

Health Services of the Pacific also received doses and is working with mayors to vaccinate senior citizens are homebound.

Additionally, a local dialysis clinic also received the vaccine and they too have started inoculating their patients who are 60 and older.

Carrera said one of the limitations in rolling out the vaccines to clinics is the number they have on hand. As of Friday, they had roughly 6,000 doses of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

On Thursday, DPHSS received an additional 7,200 Moderna and were awaiting the arrival of an additional 7,800 Pfizer vaccines. These are both a part of Guam’s January allotment of the vaccines.

“We did increase our request,” she said, noting they are still waiting to hear whether Guam will receive about 40,000 doses. She said, as more clinics get approved to immunize their own patients, they’re hoping to get more of the community fully immunized.

6% vaccinated so far

Carrera noted that Guam has vaccinated about 6% of its population.

According to the Joint Information Center’s Friday report, 11,370 people had been administered the first dose and 1,915 also have received the second dose.

The number of those fully immunized will increase in the coming week as DPHSS resumes its COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Monday and Tuesday. The clinic starts at 8:30 a.m. at Okkodo High School in Dededo.

The vaccination clinic is for manåmko’ who are 75 years and older and others who are due for their second dose, and received their first dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 28 or 29, 2020.

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