Orange County is shutting its super point of dispensing (POD) sites in June, its top bureaucrat said May 6.
“Now that we satisfied the majority of that demand for people that want to come through that process … we think that there’s an opportunity for us to shift to a mobile platform,” County Executive Officer Frank Kim told reporters.
The shuttering sites include those at Soka University, Anaheim Convention Center, Orange County Fair and Events Center, and Santa Ana Community College. They’ll close June 6.
The decision to shut the large-scale inoculation hubs was the result of a “healthy market for vaccines” at retail pharmacies and health care centers, according to Margaret Bredehoft of Orange County’s Health Care Agency.
“We’re trying to amplify our outreach approaches as well as come up with ways to engage different pockets of opportunities, interest, and really combating pockets of hesitancy,” Bredehoft said. “For us, this is our last mile to that 70 percent herd and general immunity, and this is going to probably be the most effective way moving forward.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.1 million Orange County residents are fully inoculated, accounting for 44 percent of the adult population.
While super PODs were initially the most efficient way to reach a broad number of Orange County residents, demand has recently dropped, Kim said.
Right now, each POD is providing fewer than 1,000 vaccines per day.
With the resources needed by the large sites, Kim said it would be more effective to offer mobile vaccination programs throughout the county.
The new format, he said, would provide more accessibility to encourage more residents to receive the vaccine.
Orange County residents can expect to receive more information about mobile units in the near future, officials said.
“Because of the availability … of vaccine access, the decision was to sunset the super PODs and move to a more nimble mobile approach that can meet people where they’re at,” Bredehoft said. “We already offer a pretty robust mobile network, but our plan is to even amplify that and make it more robust, doubling the number of neighborhood clinics or mobile clinics that we’ve been doing and offering that as another conduit, or offering for individuals to get vaccinated closer to where they live or work.”
The deadline to receive the first vaccine dose at a super POD site for Moderna is on May 8; for Pfizer, first dose appointments will be offered until May 15. The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available at super POD sites until June 5.