San Diego County Opening Regional COVID-19 'Vaccination Pods'
Speaker 1: 00:00 As the number of new COVID cases, skyrockets in California efforts to speed up vaccine distribution are increasing governor Gavin Newsome says only about 35% of the more than a million doses the state has received have been administered so far. A number he admits is far too low, so more locations and additional people who can administer the shot like dentists and members of the national guard are being recruited to pick up the pace. Joining me is one of the San Diego doctors on the state vaccine safety panel, Dr. Rodney hood, president, and founder of the multicultural health foundation, a consortium of health providers serving San Diego counties, most diverse neighborhoods, Dr. Hood. Welcome. Speaker 2: 00:42 Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. Speaker 1: 00:45 Are some of the roadblocks being encountered that are slowing down vaccinations in the state? Speaker 2: 00:50 Well, I, I think, uh, first of all, um, uh, uh, lack of, uh, uh, national lives, uh, vaccination plan, uh, early on, uh, we kinda missed the Mark where we didn't, uh, put in place a national plan that would be consistent, uh, from the federal level down to the state level that didn't take place. And so what happened is as the, uh, vaccines became available and the distribution to the States took place, it was kind of like every state and every County was kind of on your own. So, um, I think that's kind of, uh, uh, uh, uh, lack of, uh, public health infrastructure that we have in place. Our system was more built for due care rather than preventative. So hopefully we'll learn from that, however, uh, in, uh, California. Um, uh, although I agree with the governor, the rollout and getting vaccinations into the arms of the ones that needed it as been a little bit slower than like, but I can tell you here in San Diego County, I think we're making great progress. Speaker 1: 01:59 It does the process of getting this vaccine actually take longer than other kinds of vaccinations. Speaker 2: 02:05 Uh, yes, for several reasons. First of all, we call this a new bowl virus. It's a new virus it's just been approved, it's been approved for emergency use. So, um, it's, uh, it's, um, nuances, the main issue is probably storage. So, uh, the Pfizer vaccine for instance, needs to be stored in Sub-Zero temperatures minus 70, uh, Sana grades, uh, degrees in it comes packaged in a thousand. So when it gets to the distribution source, they break it down and say, you put it in a freezer. Uh, it needs to be used within five days. And then once when you prepare it, it needs to be used in six hours. So there's, um, uh, a lot of, uh, distribution issues regarding the vaccine, which does, uh, is, is much better as far as not requiring, Sub-Zero still has some limitations. So, um, and this also being a new vaccine, it's not like the flu vaccine, will you just go to your doctor's office and everybody who's prepared kind of give it, uh, there's, uh, PPE equipment that's needed because we're in a pandemic and certain protocols Salo. So, uh, yes, uh, this is different. And I think that that's added to the, Speaker 1: 03:22 What is your reaction to the state's proposal to increase the number of sites the vaccine is available and to expand the types of people who can administer the shots. Speaker 2: 03:32 So I think all hands on deck, I think it's a great concept right now. I think adding a dentist is vaccinated and anybody else who can be a great help. I can tell you here in, uh, there's a, uh, local vaccination advice, which I also am on two or three chairs when I'm representing hospitals, I represent clinics and, um, uh, community and then accounting and, um, we're pass would make recommendations. Um, and, um, we had a separate meetings that, a lot of feedback and basically, uh, I believe, uh, we're having another meeting today. And what's going to be announced today is that the County has opened up what we're calling regional vaccination pond, because it's, uh, easy to have a strategic pod rather than trying to get it to the small practices because of the, uh, storage issues. Uh, these regional vaccination pods will be open seven days a week. Speaker 2: 04:31 Um, it will, uh, target phase, uh, one a, all the tiers right now, which is finishing up when a [inaudible], uh, and, uh, I believe the sites will be posted on the County a website. So it will be like in the Northeast, South and central areas where folks in a tier one to tier three in phase one who would be able to be able to get a vaccine. So that's one of the things that I think is going to speed up your process and with adding vaccinators to this, that would be easier. Uh, the County is also partnering with the fire department or different fire departments throughout the County that will be prepared to do a vaccination. And, uh, last but not least, uh, accounting is developing partnerships with the hospitals are currently in our discussion, but I know one is with CSD UCS UCFD, uh, the hospitals have logic capacity and more decision and kind of giving these vaccines versus trying to get all of the small clinics together, eventually that will take place. So, uh, I'm hoping that with developing these hospital partnerships in the regional pot, that's going to make things go easier in the next couple of weeks. Speaker 1: 05:52 You know, as some hospitals, speaking of hospitals, they're reporting a percentage of healthcare workers who are refusing to get vaccinated. I'm wondering, what's your take on that? Speaker 2: 06:04 So I don't call it refusing. I call it hesitancy. Um, uh, I am, uh, you know, that's one of the issues that, uh, uh, I've been dealing with for a long time vaccine hesitancy is not new. That is not new for this vaccine, uh, in minority communities, especially black communities. There's always been huge vaccine hesitancy, uh, studying with the flu vaccine. So, uh, that's not a surprise and I used the word hesitancy because most of these individuals, once when you have a conversation with them about, um, uh, the, uh, pros and cons of getting vaccinated to risk of kind of getting a COVID and versus getting a vaccinated many times that that hesitancy is overcome. Uh, personally, I just got vaccinated, uh, yesterday. Um, I, I had a conversation with my staff who was also to get vaccinated and there were, uh, several who, uh, said, I think I'm going to wait because I'm, I'm just concerned. Many of them were females who were concerned about what that would have to do with protected, uh, systems, et cetera. But, uh, they weren't saying no, they just stating that they needed to hear more. So I think as time goes on, um, uh, that will become less of an issue. Speaker 1: 07:25 You know, even though we are at a critical point in this pandemic, are there risks in rushing vaccinations? Speaker 2: 07:33 Well, um, I, I think, uh, there's always risk, you know, jump in a car and put on a seatbelt. Uh, even though you have the seatbelt on, there's always a risk business, something terrible would happen in the seatbelt and not in a seat. Um, so, uh, medicine is always about risk benefit and yes, this is a new vaccine. Um, I think, uh, emergency use means it's been approved sooner than usual, but the safety and research data was not rushed. So getting to this point quicker had to do with the science that was utilized to get us to the, a very impressive science. And then, uh, but, uh, the research, I think the Pfizer had, uh, over 40,000 participants, which is a significant in-group get batter from, and the McKernan I had over 30,000, uh, both of which, uh, showed a safety and efficacy. Um, wouldn't narrowly, you may want more than two to three months data, but then you'd take the risk of what do we know about the, a pandemic right now? Speaker 2: 08:42 Oak should know that a health system, especially in California, hugely impacted by, um, the, the, uh, hospital systems in ICU, uh, severely impacted in is beginning to affect the quality of care that you get when you go to the hospital, not just for COVID patient, but non COVID patients, having heart attacks and strokes. Most of the beds have being taken up by COVID patients. You're just not getting the care that you need. So, um, I think, uh, vaccination, one of the tools that will help us keep saying there's light at the end of the tunnel. Uh, our goal is to see more people reach the light at the end of the tunnel right now, if, um, the vaccination will help that to flex. Speaker 1: 09:28 And I have been speaking with Dr. Rodney hood, president and founder of the multi-cultural health foundation, Dr. Hood. Thank you. Speaker 2: 09:35 You're welcome. And thanks for having me.