Nearly one million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Orange County, according to federal data.
It means 30 percent of the county, or 39.2 percent of the adult population, has completed its vaccination schedule, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of April 27, 981,133 people were fully vaccinated.
The county is still on track for Operation Independence, its target of vaccinating the large majority of county residents by July 4, said Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee.
“The governor has said June 15, I think that may be a little optimistic, so I feel comfortable at this point with July 4,” Chaffee told The Epoch Times.
Achieving the goal of Operation Independence would mean reaching herd immunity, he said. While the numbers are debated, herd immunity would require 70-to-80 percent of the population to be vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Orange County health officials will resume use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine following a recommendation by the California Department of Public Health.
The vaccine was temporarily paused by the CDC after six women suffered “rare and severe” blood clots 6 to 13 days after receiving a Johnson & Johnson dose.
“We give people a choice, we don’t make them take a particular vaccine,” Chaffee said, adding that some people prefer the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “But if they are afraid of it or have some other concerns, we have a Moderna and Pfizer available and they can choose which one they want.”
The county so far has not dealt with people reluctant to receive the vaccine, as appointments are still being quickly filled, Chaffee said.
However, he added, that could change.
“We think that the demand is going to be good at least until mid-May and then maybe we’ll have some hesitancy to have to deal with,” he said, noting that many of those hesitant to taking the vaccine can likely be persuaded eventually.
To help encourage those reluctant to receive the shots, the county will be sending out mailers and emails, though the best messengers are those who have received the vaccine and are happy with it, Chaffee said.
“We encourage [people who are vaccinated] to talk it up to others in the community. So it will be ongoing, when we get there, I think we can’t wait just to find out that ‘Gee, today people are not showing up for their appointment’ so we need to get on that [now and] I think we’ll be rolling some stuff out the end of the week.”
Additionally, the City of Irvine opened a mass drive-thru vaccination clinic at Orange County Great Park April 26.
Its opening came as the County of Orange announced it would close its Disneyland point of dispensing (POD) site as of April 30, with drive-thru compliant service being offered at Soka University, Santa Ana College, and the Orange County Fairgrounds instead.
The Disneyland site opened January 13 and was the county’s first super POD. By April 30, officials are estimating that the site will have administered 233,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) made the determination to close the site in order to reallocate existing staff resources to other super-POD locations, it said.
“We’re not going away—we’re just balancing the changing needs of eligible patients with our staffing and vaccine allocations to ensure we can be as responsive as possible,” OCHCA director Dr. Clayton Chau said in a prepared statement.