Playstation 5 – Orange County’s second vaccine super site set to boost daily capacity by thousands – Orange County Register
Starting Saturday, Jan. 23, Orange County will have a second mass vaccination center in Aliso Viejo, saving south county seniors with appointments to get a COVID-19 inoculation shot a trip to Anaheim and boosting the OC Health Care Agency’s daily vaccination capacity by thousands.
The Disneyland Super POD (point-of-distribution), a tented site that opened last week in one of the theme park’s parking lots, is vaccinating about 3,000 people per day. Eventually, the site will handle up to 8,000 a day, and a drive-thru system is on the table, public health officials said.
Ideally, the county’s second center at Soka University off Wood Canyon Drive will process 4,000 to 5,000 people per day, said Dr. Margaret Bredehoft, deputy agency director of the Health Care Agency’s Public Health Services.
“All of this is really dependent on the (vaccine) supply that we have on hand,” she said. “That’s really the bottleneck in Orange County” – as it is in other places.
As of Thursday, Bredehoft said county health staff had 66,000 vaccines on hand, many of which will be allocated to community clinics, local pharmacies and other medical facilities that aren’t getting large shipments directly from state or federal agencies. Another portion, she said, is set to be used at the county’s vaccination sites.
Large multi-county health networks order their own batches of vaccine from the state government, but because many health care providers in Orange County haven’t yet launched efforts to vaccinate their covered seniors, the county has had to absorb a tidal wave of demand.
So far, county staff and volunteers, part of its Operation Independence vaccine campaign, have administered shots to some 65,000 people at its Anaheim super site and mobile pop-up sites, Bredehoft said.
Two single-day mobile clinics have been set up so far this month in areas with high concentrations of vulnerable elderly people, she said. But, they were invite-only, organized with the help of senior groups.
More are planned, but to avoid a rush on these sites, health officials are purposefully keeping their timing and location under wraps, sharing information only with target people who were tapped to register.
Bredehoft said the word got out prematurely about one of those temporary clinics and “mass hysteria” ensued.
“Everybody came without an appointment, we had to have law enforcement and actually it got dangerous,” she said. “We had to shut down.”
The Health Care Agency will be rolling out mobile PODs, ideally a few each week, Bredehoft said, to get coronavirus shots in the arms of more of Orange County’s 600,000 people age 65 and older by dropping by their neighborhoods.
In total, about 109,000 vaccines had been administered in Orange County by last Sunday – mostly to frontline health care workers, first responders and, most recently, people 65 and older, according to the Health Care Agency’s latest figures.
The county’s drive hasn’t been glitch-free: Many seniors have reported having trouble navigating the county’s Othena website and phone app, which must be used to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Bredehoft, like other county officials this week, asked the public for patience while some wrinkles are ironed out. Despite early issues, tens of thousands of people have been vaccinated at county sites so far, she said.
“I would rather try to fix something that’s broken than sit there and do nothing,” she said.
While some people have become frustrated with long wait times, Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said the Soka site will provide a second option to help lighten the load.
“If one site is grayed-out, they should select the second site,” she said. “We don’t want to have people sit at their computer and refresh constantly.”
Also, Othena was recently updated to allow users to provide their information and register and then receive an email with a four-hour window in which they need to respond and schedule their shot.
“We are in unprecedented times. It’s a new pandemic with new vaccines,” Bredehoft said. “Be patient with us. Yes, we want to hear your feedback, but with anything, it takes time to incorporate this feedback and put it into process.”
Bredehoft said anyone who needs help with registering on Othena should call the Health Care Agency hotline at 714-834-2000.
Staff writer Erika I. Ritchie contributed to this report.