Vaccination pods open to more frontline workers in Orange County

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Frontline workers waited up to two hours for a vaccine at North Net Training Center in Anaheim on Friday, one of three point of dispensing sites, or PODS, across Orange County that opened to all tiers under Phase 1A this week.

"It is happening in stages and it's very important that these folks get vaccinated today because of the important frontline role they play delivering healthcare," said Anaheim City Spokesman Mike Lyster.

About 1,300 eligible residents are expected to get the vaccine at this POD site, now open to a wider range of healthcare workers -- from those who work in doctor and dental offices to dialysis employees and home healthcare workers.

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"I manage a dental office so when you walk into our office, I'm the first person that has to screen everybody in our office, so I just wanna make sure that I'm safe and I'm keeping my family safe also," said Norma Pena, who is an office administrator at a dental office.

"We're looking at their face. A lot of the times unfortunately we have to have them unmask and so we are wearing our PPE and our face shields and everything we can to stay safe," said Veronica Chang, a dermatology physicians assistant.

Walk-ups are not allowed at these sites, it's by appointment only. About 9,500 people have registered so far after they were notified by the Health Care Agency that they're eligible.

Vaccines are also starting to be administered at long-term care facilities through the state's partnership with CVS and Walgreens. Emerald Court Senior Living Community in Anaheim hosted a clinic on Friday with 300 doses for residents and staff.

"We've been holding on and trying to keep our bubble of safety. Here at Emerald Court, we haven't had an outbreak, but we really have been holding on so tight and this is gonna give us some relief that we're getting the vaccine now," said Patricia Gustine, the executive director of Emerald Court, which has about 230 residents and 115 employees.

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While employees are more apprehensive about it than residents, she says many are choosing to do it for the residents. Like Judi Cokliss, who thinks the vaccine is a step in the right direction.

"She said your arm might be sore, but I get the flu shot every year and no problems," Cokliss said.

The next step is opening at least five "Super PODS" throughout Orange County that will soon be able to vaccinate thousands of people every day, something that will be needed when more tiers and phases are given the green light.
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