In a time when vaccine distribution through the State of California has been slowed by a number of factors — particularly so in the historically underserved San Joaquin Valley — it took a true team effort to ensure local residents could be vaccinated.

Thousands of Merced County residents are receiving COVID-19 vaccines this week and next, thanks to a collaborative effort by the county, the City of Merced, Dignity Health-Mercy Medical Center, Merced College, University of California Health, and UC Merced.

“This series of clinics is representative of the outstanding collaboration happening within Merced County to get our residents vaccinated,” said Daron McDaniel, Chairman of the Merced County Board of Supervisors. “Thanks to this partnership, our constituents are receiving vaccinations that otherwise would not have been made available to them through the state’s allocation process. I would like to personally thank County Executive Officer Jim Brown for his out-of-the-box thinking on this.”

In addition to nearly 2,000 vaccines provided by Dignity Health, the county also received vaccines from each of the University of California’s five health centers, for an additional 1,000 vaccines provided outside of the state’s distribution system. UC Health worked with UC Merced to provide these vaccines, and UC Merced then worked with the other area partners on distribution.

 

“UC Merced is proud to partner with Dignity Health, Merced County and Merced College for the benefit of our community,” UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz said. “These vaccinations are so important to combatting this pandemic, and it is important we all do our part. We are always better together.”

“We are pleased to work with strong community partners in Merced to increase the availability of COVID-19 vaccines for the community,” said Carrie L. Byington, M.D., executive vice president of UC Health. “We urge everyone — including those who are vaccinated — to continue wearing masks in public places, maintaining a safe distance from others and washing hands frequently. It will take time for the vaccine to be widely available. Let’s keep each other safe until then.”

The vaccines are being distributed through a series of clinics on the Merced College campus, with help from dozens of trained volunteers from the college’s staff, as well as nursing students and instructors.

“Merced College has played an important role in serving and supporting this community for nearly six decades,” Merced College President Chris Vitelli said. “At this critical moment in our nation’s history, and in this pivotal time in the fight against COVID-19 in our region, we are proud to join our partner institutions in this effort to stop the spread in Merced and beyond.”

Merced County residents will have additional opportunities to be vaccinated in the coming weeks. To make an appointment or to sign up to be notified when more vaccines become available, please visit vaccinatemercedcounty.com.