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January 8 Employee Huddle

January 8, 2021

Please Note: When time does not allow us to answer every submitted question, we answer questions at the next week KD Huddle. Submit a question now for next week by e-mailing


  1. Will there be repercussions if an employee decides not to be vaccinated or defers the vaccination?
  • Employees have a choice on whether or not to be vaccinated at this time. There are no repercussions.
  1. Are our traveler RNs able to be vaccinated?
  • Yes, beginning Friday, January 8th and the process of notifying them began on January 7th.
  1. If an employee has a strong reaction from the vaccine and can’t come in to work, do they use our own PTO?
  • The information reports that reactions, if any, typically last a day or two. Employees would use PTO/PSL, if available, or PTO, the same as any illness. PTO accrual is a combined vacation/sick bank used for time off.
  1. If you call in due to reaction would it count as occurrence?
  • No, if it is a day or two after the vaccine it is not counted as an occurrence.
  1. Can you explain why the filled syringe of the vaccine is sitting in a container on the table and not being kept cold?
  1. What is the expiration date on the current vaccines we have?
  • The first Pfizer vaccine will expire 4/21. We do have to return the thermal shipping containers the vaccine is delivered in after 30 days so that Pfizer can reuse them. We have returned the first two shipping containers already. We are allocated to receive more Pfizer for the 2nd dose, which means another shipping container and the clock restarts for that return. We are expecting to receive the ULT Freezer in the next couple of week at which point the 30 day box return will go away.
  1. Since the vaccine update email went out to everyone does that mean all employees are now eligible to sign up for the first-dose or is it still limited to certain categories?
  • We take guidance from the County and State on who is eligible for vaccination. Who is eligible for vaccine changes as the State/County roll out the vaccine plan? Many of the health system team members have been permitted to be vaccinated with approval from the County as they recognize the importance of assuring the hospital and clinics and associated staff are needed for community healthcare during this pandemic. Reach out to your manager/director if you have specific questions for your work group.
  • Following Tulare County guidelines, all employees are eligible for the vaccine except those that work at Kaweah Kids. It is anticipated that the County will open that up for them within a few weeks.
  1. With 1st round vaccines still available, is there a possibility to offer the opportunity to immediate family of staff?
  • The vaccine that was issued to Kaweah Health is under the guidance of Tulare County. At this time, we are allowed to provide it to employees, providers and certain contracted staff (like travelers), except Kaweah Kids. In addition, we can now provide vaccine to certain patients in our longer term care facilities.
  1. What is the next group, after healthcare workers, to get vaccinated?
    • What is the rollout plan?
  • Do we know who to direct them to for more info? Tulare County, their employer, PCP, etc.?
  • When do first responders get to receive the vaccinations?
  • Tulare County Health and Human Services makes the decisions and have created the tier plan for our County. First Responders are in Tier 1B. (see attached press release)
  1. Is Kaweah going to be the main way through which the vaccinations will be administered in the County?
  • We will certainly participate as needed and possible given our staffing resources. The County has the primary responsibility to determine how the administration will occur.
  1. When will KD stop offering vaccinations to the employees?
  • January 20th will likely be our last “first-dose” clinic. We will continue to provide vaccine for new hires, those returning from LOA, and post-pregnancy employees.
  1. Does the vaccine provide immunity from getting COVID or just make it so we don’t get so sick from COVID?
  • The studies indicate that two weeks after the second dose is administered, the vaccine is about 95% effective. There are some variations in age and whether the vaccine is Pfizer or Moderna; however, both vaccines are highly effective. If an individual does get Covid-19, then the information suggests symptoms are less.
  1. Have there been any cases of the new strain of COVID in Tulare County yet? Does this vaccine provide immunity for that strain?
  • Yes, the new strain is a variant of COVID and the vaccine gives you the head start. There has not been any reported evidence of the new strain in Tulare County but the labs are testing for it. It is good to assume it is probably here but nothing that is reported yet.
  1. How long after we get our 2nd vaccine will we have to wear masks in non-patient care settings?
  • We will continue to wear masks until we get word from CAL-OSHA, CDC and CDPH that masks are not required in public settings.
  1. Why has the flu disappeared? If it hasn’t, why aren’t we hearing more about it?
  • Flu is not as easy to transmit due to years of flu vaccinations and this year’s vaccinations. People wearing masks in public settings and having less contact in general have made it very mild. We are testing for both COVID and flu when a patient presents with respiratory symptoms. COVID is moving around so easily because no one has immunity to it whereas the flu can get stopped in the transmission process and it is not as prevalent right now.