COVID Vaccine Given at Soka University, OC’s Second Mass Vaccination Site

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Main News Photo

(Orange County Register)

The county opened its second Super Point-of-Dispensing, or POD, vaccination site on Jan. 23 at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.

With 1,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on hand, the inoculations began. Eventually, officials hope to ramp up to delivering 3,000 to 4,000 doses a day at the site, seven days a week, as long as supplies are available.

Currently, the county has about 66,000 doses of vaccine, which are being delivered at the super PODs and smaller mobile sites. Disneyland was the first large site to open.

The county receives only about 20% of the overall supply designated for Orange County, with the rest going to hospitals and private health care providers. And officials have said supplies from the state and federal government have been slower to come than anticipated.

Since the Disneyland site began dispensing vaccines on Jan. 13, more than 21,000 doses have been distributed – the recent windstorm closed down the operation for two days.

However, even if it was going full tilt with adequate supplies, the county would have a long way to go to fill demand. According to Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, Orange County has more than 600,000 residents currently eligible, which includes those 65 and older and frontline health and emergency workers.

The county is considering opening as many as three more Super PODs countywide, once it is receiving enough vaccines to keep them going.

South County Need

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, whose Orange County Board of Supervisors fifth district includes the Soka campus, said having a large site in the southern part of the county is crucial, with more than 140,000 seniors in the district, including at the large nearby Laguna Woods senior community.

“It’s absolutely critical to get the most vulnerable vaccinated,” she said.

With a large number of volunteers available, Bartlett said the county has the “bandwidth” to meet demand quickly, but adds, “we can only use the vaccine available. Every dose is being shot into arms as quickly as possible.”

County officials have set July 4 as a target date to finish vaccinating 3.2 million O.C. residents.

Despite reports of glitches in the reservation system, Othena, the county is using and shortages in doses, attendees at the Soka POD event reported no problems upon arriving.

Registering on-site was usually completed within 20 minutes and the entire process was completed in less than an hour.

Signing on to register and secure the appointments for a vaccination time slot was more problematic for many.

County officials said this week improvements have been made to the system and there is help available through a hotline for navigating its use, but they also ask for people’s patience.

Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG: People receive their COVID-19 vaccination in the gymnasium at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, a mass vaccination center and the second center in Orange County which opened on Jan. 23.

Category: COVID-19, Vaccines, healthcare