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Italo Mesinas gets the first of the two-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday at Malibu City Hall. Scott Steepleton/Surfside News photos
Nurse Nora Hacikian preparing the doses.
Karen Moore, Curative charge nurse, with a mobile cooling unit that can hold a couple hundred vaccine vials.
Waiting to leave after getting their first dose.
Scott Steepleton, Editor
5:02 pm PDT April 13, 2021

When he woke up Tuesday morning, Italo Mesinas didn’t have plans to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

But thanks to the city of Malibu and Curative Inc.’s “Team Vaccine,” the 20-year-old is halfway to full vaccination.

Like more than 200 others, Mesinas was able to get the first of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine through a mobile clinic at Malibu City Hall.

“To be completely honest, I had no idea I was going to get this,” he told Surfside News after taking a shot in the left arm.

“My mom had an appointment. She called me and said there were some spots open, ‘So, come and get it.’”

Because she works with schools, Mesinas’ girlfriend was already vaccinated against the virus, he said, as are a couple friends.

So, when opportunity knocked for what had been a fully booked clinic, Mesinas said might as well.

Nancy Geshke, site lead for Curative, told Surfside News 224 people signed up, but with cancellations and no-shows, some walk-up spots opened for the daylong clinic.

Anyone in the eligible tiers could have signed up, including teachers, health care workers, people over 65.

“There’s even janitorial staff, anyone in transportation, food and agriculture,” she said.

In a couple days, everyone 16 and older will be allowed to get the Pfizer vaccine.

Six nurses and a charge nurse were on hand, in addition to 10 other members of the field staff.

The process worked like a charm on Tuesday.

Upon check-in, patients were escorted to tables where Curative staff checked IDs, confirmed all the pertinent information and asked some basic medical questions.

Meanwhile, other members of the team were preparing the shots.

First step is retrieving a vial of the vaccine from a refrigeration unit inside the team van and then doing the “rainbow,” where a staff member iverts the vial 10 times — a move resembling painting a rainbow — to ensure the liquid is mixed properly.

“We are checking the color, consistency, the appearance of it,” said charge nurse Karen Moore. “We’re looking for a clear to off-white opaque,” 

The team also checks the glass vials to make sure the tops look flush with the stoppers, that there are no inconsistencies in the way that it looks.

“We’re always checking the lot number, the expiration date, everything on the label to ensure that everything is perfectly correct,” said Moore.

While this was taking place, nurse Nora Hacikian was filling syringes with saline solution, tapping each to make sure any bubbles were gone.

She then inserts the needle into the Pfizer vial to draw in the appropriate amount of vaccine.

Each vial makes six doses.

Nothing goes to waste, said Moore, including the plastic tops to the vials, which she collects and uses to make art.

After getting the jab in the arm, participants were sent to a waiting area to make sure there were no immediate side effects, and as they left, Curative staff made follow-up appointments for about three weeks out.

Each patient walked away with a CDC vaccination card.

Malibu is just one of the many sites in all zip codes in Los Angeles County that Curative is holding the mobile clinics, with doses provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“It’s a pretty well oiled machine, Curative,” said Geshke, the site lead. “We work with the county, who gives us the doses to make sure we get to that herd immunity.”