Two weeks ago, San Luis Obispo County put 4,400 COVID-19 Moderna vaccines on hold while the state investigated potential allergic reactions caused by that batch. The investigation concluded that the vaccines are safe, so the county now is administering those vaccines.
After about 10 individuals in the state experienced adverse reactions from one particular lot of Moderna vaccines, California State Epidemiologist Erica Pan issued a statement on Jan. 17 recommending that counties pause administration of that lot in case the negative effects were part of a larger manufacturing issue. At the time, none of the 4,400 doses had been administered in the county.
“A higher-than-usual number of possible allergic reactions were reported with a specific lot of Moderna vaccine administered at one community vaccination clinic,” Pan said in the statement. “Fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention over the span of 24 hours.”
On Jan. 20 the State said counties could immediately begin using the vaccine lot after the California Department of Public Health, CDC, FDA and Moderna concluded there was “no scientific basis to continue the pause,” Pan said in a press release.
“Our priority from day one has been to administer vaccines effectively and safely,” County Public Health Officer Penny Borenstein said on Jan. 19. “While some mild side effects from the Moderna vaccine are normal, we want to be especially careful to make sure all vaccines are safe for our community.”
The state did not immediately fill the county’s resulting vaccine gap, which caused some second dose appointments to be postponed, according to San Luis Obispo City Manager Derek Johnson.
“Public health officials say they will be receiving a second dose in a few weeks; it’s later than expected,” Johnson said at a Jan. 19 City Council meeting. “They do not expect it will be detrimental to their recipients’ health.”
San Luis Obispo City Fire Chief Keith Aggson said after that lot was put on hold the county had also taken in about 4,800 doses of Moderna vaccines, which are being administered at the North and South County vaccination sites.
The addition of these two Moderna lots will help bolster the county’s newest vaccine clinic at Arroyo Grande High School, which opened last Monday. The site aims to expand accessibility to South County residents, according to Borenstein.
“Expanding into this third location gets us one step closer towards our goal of vaccinating 3,000 people a day,” Borenstein said in a Jan. 20 press release. “Currently, our limited vaccine supply means we can only vaccinate around 900 people per day.”