Orange County to open second mass vaccination site amid supply issues
Orange County’s second large-scale COVID-19 vaccination site will open at Soka University in Aliso Viejo on Saturday as officials continue their efforts to ramp up inoculations despite ongoing supply issues.
The announcement comes a week after the county launched its first vaccination center at Disneyland in Anaheim.
Eventually, the county plans to operate five centers, which health officials say is key to their goal of getting all residents vaccinated by July 4.
For now, only healthcare workers, residents of long-term care facilities and people 65 and older are eligible to be vaccinated at the centers.
“Orange County is working around the clock to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone who wants it,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do said in a prepared statement. “This second vaccination site at Soka University will allow us to vaccinate thousands more residents every day.”
But ramping up vaccinations has been hindered by supply problems. The county is dependent on the state for its share of vaccine doses and has been asking for more daily, officials said.
The county has distributed 21,782 doses since the Disneyland site opened last week. As of Sunday, 108,812 doses had been distributed overall, according to county data.
Eventually, officials hope to vaccinate 7,500 to 8,000 people a day at the large-scale centers, Dr. Clayton Chau, the county’s health officer and Health Care Agency director, said last week.
It is not clear how many doses the county has received so far. Those numbers were not immediately available Thursday morning.
Other counties across California are facing the same distressing situation.
In San Francisco, officials had warned that vaccines could run out as early as Thursday because the number of doses the city received dropped significantly from a week ago and doses that had to be discarded were not replaced. However, because the state has now authorized use of the questionable Moderna batch, the city will be able to use 8,000 doses it had been forced to set aside, health officials said.
Los Angeles County has received only 853,650 doses, despite needing more than 5 million doses just to inoculate all healthcare workers and residents 65 and older.
Aside from supply issues, vaccination plans hit other speed bumps in Orange County this week.
Thousands who were scheduled to receive their first round of the vaccine had their appointments pushed back after high winds forced the closure of the Disneyland site for two days.
Tuesday appointments were rescheduled for Thursday, according to a county representative
County officials also temporarily stopped using a batch of the Moderna vaccine that had possibly caused allergic reactions. California’s top epidemiologist announced Wednesday that experts found “no scientific basis” for continuing to withhold the doses.
The county has also received complaints from residents who ran into problems using the Othena website to schedule appointments.
In response, staffers at the OC Health Care Agency’s COVID-19 and vaccine help line at (714) 834-2000 have been trained to help callers with the site.
“We understand that there are many residents who are anxious to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage people to remain patient as we work to dispense our limited supply of vaccine to eligible individuals,” Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Doug Chaffee said in a statement.
Vaccine basics outside Orange County
Los Angeles County residents 65 and older can sign up for an appointment at the county public health department’s website, vaccinatelacounty.com. Residents without computer access can call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for assistance with reservations.
The city of Los Angeles is also offering the vaccine to anyone in Los Angeles County who is 65 or older, through a different online portal. That website connects patients to sites including Dodger Stadium, San Fernando Recreation Park, Lincoln Park, Hansen Dam and Crenshaw Christian Center.
Ventura County is offering vaccinations to residents 75 and older, who can sign up for appointments online. Information for Riverside County residents can be found at the Riverside University Health System, while San Bernardino County residents can find vaccine information on the county’s website.
Times staff writers Maura Dolan and Colleen Shalby contributed to this report.
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