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News

People 65 and up eligible for vaccines

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Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter

On Tuesday, Ventura County expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to residents ages 65 and older, while noting that appointments for vaccines are limited based on vaccine availability from the state.

Also, a COVID-19 vaccination site at Nordhoff High School is anticipated to open Feb. 20, according to Ojai City Manager James Vega.

Previously, vaccine appointments were only available for residents 75 and older, as well as healthcare workers and others included in the county Phase 1A tier of vaccine eligibility.

Ventura County Health Care Agency Chief Deputy Director Barry Zimmerman updated the vaccine information at the county’s weekly press conference Wednesday: “To date, we have vaccinated some 32,000 75-year-olds and older seniors, which puts us almost to 60 percent of the total population estimated for that age group.”

As of Wednesday, 106,399 total doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine had been administered by the county. Out of this total, 84,284 were first doses and 22,115 were second doses. These totals are updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

Zimmerman said the county is making an effort to get more second doses administered this month. If you received the Pfizer vaccine, you are eligible for the second dose 21 days after the first dose is administered, and 28 days after the first Moderna dose is administered.

Zimmerman also clarified the timeline for getting your second dose, noting that it does not have to be completed exactly 21 or 28 days after the first dose. He said: “That timeline is not as precise as some may think, in the sense that if I’m 21 days from my first Pfizer vaccine, I do have a two-week window that we would like to get you scheduled to receive your second dose associated with that vaccine. So my message is, as we schedule out these second-dose vaccines, that there is some leeway and tolerance — and this is under the guidance of the CDC — to allow a time period up to two weeks, and even three weeks for the Pfizer, to get your second dose. It should not hamper the effectiveness of that vaccine.”

If you received your first dose through the county, officials will send an email notification when it is time to schedule an appointment for the second dose. 

Zimmerman said: “We understand that the scheduling system is not optimal. It’s the one we have and have been working with as we started this pandemic, and we’re trying to make improvements there. We are also working on an appropriate webpage that individuals can go to for their second-dose appointment, and to make it so you can register when you’re available or eligible for that second dose.”

The county has made approximately 43,000 second-dose appointments available this month.

The county is also opening up two new vaccination clinics in Ojai, Oxnard and Camarillo to support distribution efforts. Zimmerman said: “We’ll be opening a clinic on Rose Avenue (in Oxnard) … and that will be opening Feb. 11 to orientate and to start appointments at that facility. That clinic facility will be targeting second-dose appointments for the next week-and-a-half. In addition to that, on Feb. 18, we’ll be opening an additional clinic at the Ventura County Office of Education’s conference center … that will also be set up to help handle both second- and first-dose appointments.”

However, he noted that more clinics do not necessarily mean the county has more vaccines. However, it does equip the county to be ready to administer more vaccines as it receives them.

“We hope by next week we will also have a new dashboard (at www.venturacountyrecovers.org) that can be posted with a lot of statistical information that you can track the progress and the status of our vaccination efforts,” Zimmerman concluded.

 

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