In recent weeks, local health officials have begun to vaccinate those in the food and agriculture sector, starting with grocery store employees. These frontline workers are in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan. “With three highly effective vaccines available and multiple local partners providing vaccinations, we are steadily moving forward,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. “We continue to make vaccinations available to people who are 65 and older, healthcare workers, educators, childcare providers, and emergency service workers. Now, we can move a little bit further into Phase 1B,” said Blake.
Blake and her team are working with locally-owned Dokimos Pharmacy to vaccinate frontline grocery store workers. These targeted efforts are part of the County’s goal to vaccinate those with a high likelihood of workplace exposure. Public Health has reached out to local grocery stores to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to their employees. “Grocery store employees have shown up to work throughout the pandemic to ensure our community has access to food. They serve hundreds of people a day. This is a significant step to protect this workforce and the public from COVID-19,” Blake said.
For BriarPatch employee Matt Margulies, being vaccinated has provided a new sense of security at work. “Being that I am a frontline grocery worker and come in contact with hundreds of people a week, my risk of serious illness has been greatly decreased. This will bring a sense of ease into my daily routine,” Margulies said. “I’m looking forward to the day we can hug one another again.”
“It has been a great pleasure to work with the County to get our essential workers vaccinated. As a group, they have been overwhelmingly thankful it’s their turn,” said Dokimos Pharmacy owner Jacque Paye. “I think getting this group covered will help ease some concerns from the employees as well as help protect the public,” Paye said. “Everyone needs grocery workers in some capacity, whether it's shopping in person, using curbside pickup, or delivery. We need them healthy and safe to continue working and doing an outstanding job helping our community through this pandemic.”
Paye added that the space Dokimos Pharmacy uses for vaccinations is owned by the Painter family, who also own SPD Markets. “They have given us a very generous lease to use this building for vaccines, so we have been in close contact with the owners as well as their employees this entire pandemic,” Paye said.
This spirit of collaboration has made all the difference this year, according to Blake. “It’s how we do everything,” Blake said. “We have always partnered with local businesses and organizations, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only emphasized how important those relationships are. We are so grateful to Dokimos Pharmacy and our grocery store partners for their dedication to protecting our community.”
As the vaccine supply continues to increase, Nevada County residents will begin seeing more appointments available. “We will continue to move through the sectors. I would encourage anyone who is offered a vaccine to take it,” Blake said.
To find out if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine now or to be notified when you are, go to https://myturn.ca.gov or call 211. “All of the available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective,” said Blake. “The best vaccine is the one you’re offered.”
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Nevada County, go to MyNevadaCounty.com/Coronavirus/Vaccine or call 1-833-DIAL211.
Brian Hanley, a frontline worker at BriarPatch Food Co-op, gets his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, March 11th.