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Emergency, Child Care And Food Workers Become Eligible For COVID-19 Vaccine

A vial of a COVID-19 vaccine at the CSU San Marcos vaccination site. Feb. 22, 2021.
Roland Lizarondo
A vial of a COVID-19 vaccine at the CSU San Marcos vaccination site. Feb. 22, 2021.

More than half a million people in San Diego County have become eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccines, including people who work in emergency services, child care and education, food and agriculture and grocery stores.

San Diego County officials announced last week that the vaccines were available for those groups, but also admitted it could take weeks to get a shot to everyone who wants one.

"We need folks to be patient," Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday, adding that the county will prioritize K-12 schools in ZIP codes hardest hit by COVID-19.

Previously, only health care personnel, long-term care facility staff and residents and those who are 65 years and older were eligible for vaccines.

The county decided to open the vaccines to more people in Phase 1B, Tier 1 as vaccine supplies increase and more progress is made in vaccinating those currently eligible.

Three agencies will take the lead in vaccinating some of the newly eligible groups.

The San Diego County Office of Education and the California Schools VEBA will exclusively schedule appointments for transitional kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers and staff through vebavaccinates.com. The priority will be schools open and planning to open, and then those closed, starting with those in the fourth quartile of the California Healthy Places Index.

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"The state called for setting aside 10% of vaccine supply for education but the County of San Diego is going further," said county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. "We are setting aside 20% to get teachers back in schools."

Appointments exclusive to the law enforcement community will be organized by Scripps Health.

For farmworkers in fields and rural locations, Cal Fire and Operation Collaboration will take the lead in scheduling remote vaccination events.

All others eligible in these groups can sign up for appointments through vaccinationsuperstationsd.com. Not everyone will be able to get an immediate appointment, but more time slots will open as additional vaccines arrive.

People with underlying conditions can begin signing up for vaccinations on March 15.

As of Friday, more than 909,000 COVID-19 doses had been delivered to the region, with more than 804,000 administered. The difference between the two numbers represents approximately what is expected to be administered the next seven days and doses still to be entered in the record system. More than 7,100 doses were administered and pending documentation.

Those inoculated to date include more than 213,000 San Diegans who are fully vaccinated, while 19.9% of the population over age 16 has received at least one dose.