Letter to the Editor – Patiently awaiting a safe place to vaccinate

While Lassen County officials on the Covid-19 task force have been working for months planning or organizing for the delivery of the Covid -19 vaccine, they likely did not know about the potential for an severe allergic reaction that has been noted now that the vaccine is rolling out over the world.

So my question to the county is how will you monitor an allergic reaction after someone drives away from the drive-through injection site?  Drive-through vaccinations are not new; however, in the prior use of Drive-throughs the vaccine was not a new experimental vaccine.

The possible reaction is unknown with this new vaccine. Since the vulnerable and older adults will most likely be vaccinated early on in the roll out I feel it is strongly recommended that observation time for reactions is safer.

Further, there are many other considerations when installing a drive-through set up for vaccinations in general: (1) weather conditions; (2) need for significant logistical preparation; (3) need large and suitable space; (4) clients that might faint in cars; (5) traffic issues; (6) difficulty in communication with people in their cars; (7) carbon monoxide exposure of staff; and 8) accessibility issues for those without cars .

Additionally, in Lassen County we have regions that are far from the center of Susanville where the drive-through site is likely to be set up.  How will we distribute to the Herlong and Bieber areas for example?

While the county officials report they have worked for months on this project, did they have any other options to vary the distribution method?  These are valid and true concerns that I hope would have been considered in those months of planning the officials claim to have spent on this project.

People who may be hesitating to get the vaccine could really have a justification now.  People generally are aware of the issue with anaphylaxis, and it is a medical emergency.  Can you see someone drive off from the drive-through and have the reaction alone in traffic?  A half hour post injection for observation is recommended by vaccinologists.  What is the plan for observing?

From Richard (Egan’s) response, one would think the task force had a heads up on the vaccine approval, as he says his team has been working on it for months. My question is: “All you came up with” (was a) poke in the arm and down the road you go, hope you don’t turn blue?”

Lorraine Schlorff



Editor’s note: Lassen News reached out to Richard Egan, public information officer for LassenCounty’s COVID-19 Incident Command Team for comment on this letter. Egan said Schlorff’s comments have been duly noted and will be considered by public health officials.

            Here’s Egan’s email response to Schlorff. Thank you for your concern. Public Health staff have been considering the logistics and additional details regarding a Drive-through COVID -19 vaccination program for months. They will of course be following all best practices with regard to that effort, including post-injection monitoring as indicated, (and) as you have noted that may require additional patient parking, etc.