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Orange County prepares for the second mass vaccination site at Soka University, adjusts the agreement system – Orange County Register



Orange County staff and volunteers are preparing for the opening of a mass vaccination center at Soka University in Aliso Viejo on Saturday.

It joins the first center the county opened last week at Disneyland, which has handled about 3,000 appointments a day.

“Bring your umbrellas, plan rain, if you’re on a walk, take these things into consideration,” said county spokeswoman Molly Nichelson. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to assist visitors from the campus parking structure off Wood Canyon Drive to a nearby fitness center where vaccines take place.

The county has enough vaccines and staff available for a safe launch of the new Soka Super POD (distribution point) this weekend, spokeswoman Molly Nichelson said. Officials have said they would not open new locations until volunteers and doses were available to make it worthwhile; ultimately expected in five places.

But public health officials are tempering expectations and asking for patience after the Othena appointment system got off to a offensive start among its target users: seniors aged 65 and over.

The Health Care Agency said this week that the appointment process had been “simplified”

; to prevent users from constantly having to update Othena on their computers and phones in hopes of landing a spot.

For users who have completed registration, Othena will send email-eligible groups around noon. 10 a day and warn them that an appointment is available to them.

Dr. Clayton Chau, health agent director and county health officer, said employees consider a person’s coronavirus risk while being assigned appointments. Staff will also send patients to the nearest superstate, he said.

But if users do not respond through Othena within hours, they will be placed back in the virtual queue, Nichelson said.

“They really need to pay attention to the emails that come through,” she said.

The Health Care Agency has set up a hotline at 714-834-2000 to ask questions about Othena, vaccine appointments, and other related issues during daytime work.

At this time, people who qualify for a vaccine and want an appointment can not call to set one up, but can call for help signing up for Othena.

“We see that this will be able to make us more nimble,” she said.

Chau advised seniors who had problems with Othena to ask their doctor or staff at a local senior center for help.

And super sites are not the only option, Chau said. The National Board of Health is also in the process of building smaller “mobile” vaccination clinics that have been parachuted for a day at a few senior centers and more on the way.

Meanwhile, the county is still finding a balance between marshaling vaccines, staff and volunteers to get doses in the arms of the county’s most vulnerable and vulnerable to COVID-19 effectively and fairly.

During a virtual town hall Thursday with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, Chau said Orange County still does not have enough vaccines and reiterated the need to let older seniors get their shots first, especially those with chronic health conditions that make coronavirus more dangerous to them.

“We ask the community to be patient, let’s give the vaccine to 75 and older and 65 and older with chronic problems,” he said. “Let’s protect them first, because it’s them that if they get infected, they end up in hospitals more than others.”


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