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Clinic Provides More Than 500 COVID-19 Vaccines to Area Seniors

Comprehensive Wellness and its founder Dr. Rebecca Parish are proud to review our recent roles in a grassroots community achievement that helped to vaccinate our Lafayette and surrounding community neighbors!

Together with Lamorinda Village and many other community partners, Comprehensive Wellness and Dr. Parish helped to organize a Lafayette drive through COVID-19 Vaccine clinic on January 16 & 17. Our goal was to get the vaccine in the arms of seniors, especially those who may have had difficulty finding and scheduling their vaccine appointments.

The criteria for vaccination priority have been rapidly evolving. At the time of the event, Contra Costa County guidelines prioritized seniors 65 and older, as well as individuals included in Phase 1A, Tiers 1-3 of their guidelines. Like in many counties, Dr. Parish was concerned that Lafayette and local seniors wouldn’t get shots in arms fast enough.

We received 500 Pfizer doses from Contra Costa County Health Services to distribute. We provided 500 appointment slots using an online sign-up form that required registrants to verify their date of birth. Patients also filled out forms indicating their date of birth at the event. Registration was managed by Lamorinda Village and an army of community volunteers.

Although it is documented that vaccine vials can often yield six (or occasionally more) doses, based on the number of syringes being used to administer the vaccine, we could not guarantee or schedule any more than 500 appointments.

Recognizing the dosage yield would be higher than 500, knowing the very limited shelf life[1] of thawed and reconstituted doses, and in keeping with Contra Costa County’s directive to minimize waste, volunteers made efforts on the second day to contact seniors 65 and older who were on a waiting list. We asked them to return to the site to take advantage of any ‘extra’ doses that would otherwise be wasted. Doses were also administered to community outreach volunteers working the event to ensure that every bit of vaccine we had was injected into an arm, not into the trash. There was a recent similar circumstance at a clinic in Antioch, where volunteers called out for vaccine candidates on the street!

Over the two days, we administered a total of 566 doses to patients aged 65 and older.  The remaining doses were administered to patients aged 64 and under, most of whom were included in Phase 1A, Tiers 1-3 county guidelines. As the county vaccine allotment has shifted again, second doses will be given on schedule at larger partner sites through John Muir Health or at a county satellite location. Patients vaccinated at Stanley will be hearing from the county or John Muir Health with more detailed information in the coming days.

This was an incredible example of a community coming together and acting like “real” neighbors. A volunteer at Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church helped some of their senior members register for the event, some of whom don’t have computers or email addresses. About 30 seniors from the church participated, one exclaiming, “What you all did was amazing!”

Close to 100 seniors affiliated with Lamorinda Village were also able to participate. Kathryn Ishizu, Operations Manager from Lamorinda Village said “Lamorinda Village was proud to be part of this community effort to get seniors vaccinated. We appreciate all the volunteer clinicians and staff who made this free clinic possible. Seniors and volunteers came away uplifted and hopeful.”

Our founder, Dr. Rebecca Parish, speaks of the event with a lot of emotion and expressed gratitude for the team effort that went into making it happen:

“This event took the work of many medical and community organizations coming together in fantastic cooperation. COVID-19 has terrified many of us and altered our world in undefinable ways. The issue of scarcity of the vaccines is truly central and looming. It can be agonizing to sort out who receives doses; we feel great empathy for the public health officials working to move forward and prioritize patients. While schedule and location changes are frustrating, we know all our colleagues are doing their best to navigate the changes in regulations. With every dose given, there is someone else just as deserving who doesn’t get one. Ever-changing rules and differing regulations between health systems, counties, and states further adds to the complexity. We are extremely proud of our role in getting these vaccines out efficiently, effectively, and ethically. All members of the Comprehensive Wellness Team are honored and humbled to have been able to make a small dent in COVID-19 and bring a bit of hope to us all.”

[1] The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is stable for 5 days once it is thawed and refrigerated. Once reconstituted, this vaccine is stable for 6 hours at room temperature and must be administered in this time frame.

Comprehensive Wellness and Dr. Parish are thankful for the impact they were able to have on the Lafayette and surrounding community seniors.