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By Shawn Raymundo and Lillian Boyd
UPDATE (Saturday, Jan. 23, at 4:22 p.m.): Hundreds awaited their turn for COVID-19 vaccinations in South Orange County despite the rainfall this morning.
“The weather isn’t the best but it’s an exciting day for the fabulous Fifth District,” Orange County Board Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said during her opening remarks for the launch of the super vaccination site in Aliso Viejo. “Today is another exciting and significant milestone for Orange County as we open the second regional super POD site right here at Soka University.”
Bartlett represents the county’s Fifth District, which holds one of the largest senior populations in Orange County.
“While the need is great, our supply is limited. We are working as hard as we can and utilizing all our resources to secure more vaccines from the state,” Bartlett said. “We are working on bringing smaller PODs to make vaccines more accessible.”
As vaccines continue to roll out, Bartlett asked that residents continue to follow health guidelines.“
Wear a mask, practice social distancing and good hygiene,” Bartlett said. “We are not out of the woods yet but we are almost getting there.”
Below is the San Clemente Times’ initial report on the announcement of the Super POD site, published on Jan. 21.
The county is slated to open a new Super Point of Dispensing (POD) site for COVID-19 vaccinations on Saturday morning, Jan. 23, at Soka University in Aliso Viejo—the second regional inoculation center to be announced since last week, when the Super POD site at Disneyland opened.
In the county’s press release on Wednesday, Jan. 20, announcing the planned opening, Orange County Board Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, representative for the Fifth District, which covers South Orange County, expressed excitement for the partnership with Soka University.
“My district has a large number of seniors eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1A, and having a location in South County will prove extremely helpful in providing greater and more convenient access to the vaccine,” she said in the release.
Vaccinations at both Super POD sites are by appointment only. Appointments are scheduled three days out and are limited. To schedule an appointment or get more information about the vaccine distribution in Orange County, visit othena.com.
The move to open the Super POD site in South County, as part of “Operation Independence,” comes as the county aims to ramp up vaccinations, making them more readily available. The county did note, however, that it is facing “ongoing supply limitations.”
“The Orange County Health Care Agency is continuously requesting more doses from the State every day,” the county said in its press release.
“Orange County is working around the clock to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone who wants it,” Orange County Board Supervisor and Chairperson Andrew Do said in the release. “This second vaccination site at Soka University will allow us to vaccinate thousands more residents every day.”
To date, according to the county, more than 21,780 vaccines had been distributed at the Disneyland Super POD site to residents eligible for the inoculations, as well as County of Orange workers. Board Supervisor and Vice-Chairperson Doug Chaffee praised the team conducting “Operation Independence” for getting the Super POD sites set up.
“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,” he said in the release.
According to the OCHCA, as of Monday, Jan. 17, the county had administered 108,812 doses of the vaccine.
Orange County has dubbed its vaccination effort “Operation Independence,” as the county’s goal is to complete all of its COVID-19 vaccinations by Independence Day, July 4.
Orange County is in Phase 1A of vaccination distribution for health care workers and long-term care residents, with additional eligibility for individuals 65 and over, as well as emergency service workers.
According to the county, at least five Super POD sites are anticipated to be needed throughout the county with one caveat: sites will open when the supply of available vaccines for Orange County increases.
Pauline Colvin, spokesperson for Bartlett’s office, told San Clemente Times last week that other options, such as mobile or mini POD sites, are also being considered throughout the county, but she couldn’t provide further details as they were still working to secure such sites.
Bartlett, in the press release, encouraged residents to learn more about who is eligible for the vaccine, as well as find information related to the efficacy of the inoculations at covidvaccinefacts.com—the county’s resource for COVID-19 vaccinations.