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Like so many of you, all of us at Eisenhower Health are also anxious for our community, including our own loved ones, to be vaccinated. At this time, Eisenhower Health has not yet received a sufficient supply of Covid-19 vaccines to begin vaccinating all of our patients. Without sufficient doses of the vaccine, we cannot make appointments for vaccine clinics. We ask for your continued patience while we await the supply.

At this time, we hope to begin vaccinating Eisenhower patients by end of January – again, dependent on a sufficient supply of vaccine. Our vaccine process will be very specific in order to minimize vaccine waste and long wait times and will be focused on Eisenhower patients according to the tiers approved by the California Department of Public Health. Patients will be pre-registered and given appointment times at designated locations. With more than 55,000 patients over the age of 65 in our system, we are now beginning a pilot program to test our mass vaccination potential within the health system. This involves vaccinating several hundred patients who are over the age of 65, including Eisenhower volunteers who will in turn help with the vaccination effort, and donors as well as first responders and community physicians and their staff. Like health systems across the nation, Eisenhower must conduct these high volume clinics to prepare for the even larger scale vaccination clinics needed to immunize as many patients and community members as possible in coming weeks.

You may have heard that Riverside County has announced dates and locations for vaccine clinics throughout the county, including in Indio. While the initial clinics are fully booked, you can find updated information www.ruhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine as they are likely to announce more dates soon. Area pharmacies, including Ralphs and Albertsons, have indicated they are offering the vaccine as well. You are certainly welcome to explore other options for receiving the vaccine if you wish to do so. The most important outcome is that you are vaccinated as soon as possible.

What do I need to do now to prepare for the vaccine?
If you choose to have your vaccine through Eisenhower Health and you have not created a MyChart account, we strongly encourage you to do so. While you are not required to have a MyChart account, it will improve efficiency in scheduling and communicating with you about your vaccination. Click here to register for MyChart. You will find a brief, helpful tutorial to walk you through the steps to create your account on the home page.

If you do not have a MyChart account, we will contact you via phone when we are ready to schedule you for your vaccine.

Should I have the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes. It is unknown how long a person is protected from getting COVID-19 a second time, so getting the vaccine is advised if you have already recovered. Please note that you must wait 90 days after your positive test to receive the vaccine.

Eisenhower has a list of frequently asked questions that we are updating regularly on our website. Some of the questions we have been asked the most in recent days include:

Which vaccines will Eisenhower Health offer?
Eisenhower has been receiving both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Due to supply concerns, patients will not have an option to choose the vaccine they receive. Please be prepared that you will be required to receive two shots, spaced a few weeks apart (21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna), to achieve full efficacy of the vaccine. You must receive the same brand vaccine for each shot.

I hear there is leftover vaccine and would be willing to take it. How can I get it?
Eisenhower is currently scheduling its health care workers for vaccines by appointment, minimizing the risk of any leftover or wasted vaccine. However, the CDC has very specific stratifications for vaccine distribution among health care workers. On the rare occasion that there is "leftover" vaccine at the end of a vaccine clinic, Eisenhower reaches out to the next health care workers on the list based on that stratification. Eisenhower has nearly 5,000 health care workers to vaccinate.

Can I stop wearing a mask once I get the vaccine?
No. It will take some time for a sufficient number of people to be vaccinated. Please continue to frequently wash your hands, socially distance and wear a mask to help slow the spread of the virus. We all need to participate in these good habits to minimize the spread of the virus, even after some of us have been vaccinated. Please remember that, as with any vaccine, you will still not be guaranteed full immunity from the disease and that continuing to take precautions will not only help reduce transmission of the disease in the community, it will continue to help protect you and your loved ones. Eisenhower Health continues to require masking in all of our locations.