‘Extremely vulnerable’ can get vaccine referrals

(WDBJ7 Photo)
Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 3:45 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) - Tallahassee Memorial Hospital is getting ready to offer vaccines to those under 65 with serious medical conditions, but patients must have a referral from a primary care doctor.

TMH sent out guidelines for the “extremely vulnerable” vaccines Wednesday in hopes that primary care doctors will begin referring patients for vaccines.

TMH would then contact those patients to schedule appointments once vaccine supplies become available.

The CDC defines “extremely vulnerable” as:

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
  • People who have serious heart conditions.
  • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment.
  • People of any age with severe obesity (BMI >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk.
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Down Syndrome
  • Sickle Cell disease
  • Diabetes
  • Have been classified as clinically extremely vulnerable based on clinical judgement and assessment by the physician.

“If you meet the ‘extremely vulnerable’ criteria and are under the age of 65, please contact your primary care provider to be referred to TMH. The general public should not contact TMH directly to request the vaccine at this time,” a hospital spokeswoman said.

TMH’s Chief Integration Officer Dr. Dean Watson mentioned the “extremely vulnerable” population during a community COVID-19 update last week.

Watson said the initial 1,000 vaccines TMH received for vulnerable people have already been assigned.  He said TMH is sending out spreadsheets to primary doctors in the community.

“They’ll be receiving a spreadsheet that will help them to identify and list out their vulnerable patients,  so we can prepare to work together to vaccinate these identified patients and create a system that is standardized and efficient,” Watson said.

Watson said once Leon County vaccinates 70%-80% of seniors 65 and older, he hopes the state will allow other vaccine providers to open up availability to “extremely vulnerable” people under 65.

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