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Here's how the coronavirus vaccine gets distributed in Sacramento County

First patients in the area receive the vaccine today at UC Davis Health in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jim Lee Clark, 86, was one of the first UC Davis Health patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He explained why he was a good candidate to receive the vaccine right away.

“I have everything wrong with me,” Clark said. “Everything, you name it. The only thing that hasn’t stopped on me is my heart.”

UC Davis was one of the first healthcare providers in the Sacramento area to begin giving the COVID-19 vaccine to patients, but others are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye explained how the vaccine distribution is coordinated.

“The state will tell us each week how much vaccine we’re going to get, and then we’re responsible to divvy that out and tell the state how much to give each of our providers,” Dr. Kasirye said.

While it will be a little different for each health provider, Dr. Doug Kirk, Chief Medical Officer with UC Davis Health, explained how patients were selected at UC Davis.

“We identified a cohort of patients...a little bit more than 500 patients who are our very highest-risk patients who are part of our primary care group or they were in our transplant clinic or cancer centers. And we identified those patients and we contacted them either through our MyUCDavis health portal, through the electronic health record,” Dr. Kirk said. “Ones who don’t have that, we’ve called them directly.”

Then patients pick a time.

“There is an appointment process and it can be done electronically,” Dr. Kirk explained. “Once we identify that you’re an appropriate patient to be vaccinated, we will send you a ticket, and with that ticket you can do a self-scheduling process to find your time to be vaccinated.”

But what if someone believes they’re in a vaccine group but they haven’t heard from their healthcare provider?

“The healthcare provider will reach out,” Dr. Kasirye said. “But if they have not gotten an email or phone call, they can also reach out to the healthcare provider and ask if they are able to get the vaccination that way. And if not, then to contact public health.”

Dr. Kirk said he knows about the vaccine process well because he just had his second dose.

“It’s very quick, it’s amazingly quick,” he explained. “You come in. You answer a small number of questions just to make sure that you’re the right person, under the circumstances you have no additional risk. And then it really is just as simple as a cleansing of your arm, injection, an observation period for 15 minutes, and then you’re on your way.”

Clark has no vaccine concerns.

“I spent 28 years in the service. I’ve had every kind of shot you can think of. And so it doesn’t bother me at all,” he said.

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