Thousands of OC retirement community residents receive COVID-19 vaccine

Laguna Woods Village coordinated efforts to secure COVID-19 vaccines from Orange County. Management partnered with Memorial Care Medical Group to assist with the vaccinations, starting with residents 75 and older.
LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (KABC) -- A coordinated effort by residents and management in Laguna Woods Village and Memorial Care Medical Group meant thousands of seniors have been able to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

Marsha Gandin says waiting in line 40 minutes to get her first shot at her community's clubhouse is nothing compared to what she went through trying to get into the Disneyland Super POD.

"I couldn't get through. I kept trying the Othena website and they said 'No nothing is available.' This was so much easier," said Gandin.

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Orange County's second COVID-19 vaccination super site opened Saturday, drawing hundreds of residents to get their shots, including many vulnerable seniors.

The Laguna Woods Village resident was not alone.

"This is something that the residents really, really spoke loud and clearly that they wanted here in the community," said Annie McCary, Laguna Woods Village's third Mutual Board Vice President. "They wanted something close by something that was easy and accessible."

So, management at Laguna Woods Village took initiative, securing thousands of Moderna vaccines from the county. They asked Memorial Care Medical Group to assist with the vaccinations, starting with residents 75 and older. Jeffrey Parker, CEO of the Village, says that age group makes up about half of the senior community's 18,000 residents.

"When we started this process, we were trying to see if there was a way that we could individualize the community here and get ahead of the curve," said Parker.

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A new improvement has been implemented for the system that Orange County uses to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for residents.

That turned into an at-random selection using the medical group's technology and senior community's database. About 3,000 residents received notification emails or calls, depending on their preference, telling them they were in the first group.

As the county opened its second Super POD at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, more private options are in the works.

"Memorial Care is rolling out vaccinations to the 75-year-olds that have been getting care from our organization. We have a vaccination clinic this weekend up in the Long Beach area and then we are starting a vaccination clinic next week in the Orange County area for our patients and they'll be receiving email notifications to start scheduling their appointments as well," said Dr. Adam Solomon, Memorial Care Medical Group Chief Medical Officer.

As more shots become available, more seniors will get their notifications to have their own appointments in Laguna Woods.
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