Vaccine Program Commences in Western Sierra County

Betty Jo administering first dose of Covid vaccine to Frank Lang.

Health Officer, Dr Celia Sutton-Pado holding a vial of Moderna. Marty Creel and Frank in the background.

This past Tuesday, December 29, marked the beginning of the western Sierra County COVID-19 Vaccine Program. This joint effort between the Downieville Ambulance and Urgent Care organization and the Sierra County Health Department started operation at the Downieville Community Hall when 40 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to EMS and First Responders of the Downieville, Sierra City, Alleghany, and Pike City fire departments.

Future COVID-19 vaccine injection dates are being planned based on the availability of the vaccine.

It’s true, across the nation there have been a few instances of severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. Thus, the Downieville Ambulance, staffed with a physician, nurse practitioner, paramedic, and advanced EMTs were stationed at the Community Hall throughout the vaccinations to manage any potential problems. Accordingly, as part of the procedure, all persons who received the vaccine were required to spend 15 minutes at the site in order to monitor their reaction, or lack of, to their injection.

Side effects for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are generally mild and temporary, including pain at the injection site, headache, fever, fatigue, chills, plus muscle and joint pain. These normal reactions tend to last about a day, sometimes bad enough the recipients miss work. But, these responses are more common after the second dose and in younger recipients of the vaccine. The good news is how these symptoms are a sign the vaccine has revved up the vaccinated person’s immune system.

The Moderna vaccine is preferred in rural areas due to the complexity of storage and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine, a product requiring freezing units capable of maintaining a -94 degrees Fahrenheit temperature in order to be useful.

Both vaccines have equal efficacy, side effect profiles, and require a second injection according to the Center for Disease Control. In the case of the Moderna vaccine, the second dose needs to be administered 28 days after the initial injection. For the Pfizer vaccine, the second injection is given 21 days after the first. For both vaccines, doses are designed to be administered via a needle into the deltoid muscle at the top of a person’s arm.

If you want to be on the COVID-19 Vaccine LIst, please call the Sierra County Public Health Office at 530-993-6700. The availability of the vaccine here remains

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