OC expands COVID vaccine eligibility to include teachers, child care providers, food industry workers

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Orange County expands COVID vaccine eligibility
Orange County expanded it eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 vaccine to include teachers, child care providers and food industry workers.

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Another group of people is now eligible to receive a vaccine in Orange County.

The county on Monday will start vaccinating people in Phase 1B, officials said. They include teachers, child care providers and food industry workers.

In an email, the county tells Eyewitness News that as more vaccine is available, 70% of its allotment will go to seniors 65 and over - the rest will go to those in eligible phases.

Teacher Jesse Holmes received her shot Monday.

"As soon as I told some of my students that's where I was going during the lunch some of them were excited and said 'I can come back to the classroom because you have a vaccine,'" she said.

She said she was able to get an appointment quickly through the nonprofit Families Together of Orange County.

RELATED: California to set aside 10% of all 1st vaccine doses for teachers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces

California will set aside 10% of all first-round COVID-19 vaccine doses specifically for teachers, educators and childcare workers, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday.

Alexander Rossel, the CEO of FTOC, says like the rest of the nation, his staff saw delays in vaccine shipments because of bad weather, but they're dispensing what they have.

"So far we have supply for this week only, but we are not really reserving any vaccines. We're just going to go full force and vaccinate whoever is needed," Rossel said.

Othena, the platform the county uses to schedule vaccine appointments, may see changes requiring people already registered to give more information to re-qualify.

Holmes is happy her shot only took a call to FTOC and feels she's one step closer to helping protect her family on-campus and at home.

"I feel like I can breathe a little bit easier now," she said.

FTOC is averaging 500 doses a day and they're expecting their delayed shipment of vaccine any day this week.

So far, over 500,000 doses have been administered in Orange County.

Over 261,000 people have received their first dose while 125,000 people have been fully vaccinated in Orange County.