Data from the Orange County Health Agency’s COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce indicates more than 32,000 people have now received the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County.

As of Friday, Jan. 8, Orange County had administered a cumulative total of at least 32,214 COVID-19 vaccinations – since the PfizerNBiotech COVID-19 Vaccine arrived in mid December.

In an email to Irvine Weekly, Jessica Good, Public Information Manager at HCA, explained that the data set from O.C.’s COVID-19 vaccinations totals includes the data up to December 31, and that HCA is working on reporting frequency to provide more detailed data in the future.

“Please know that we have not established a frequency for future updates as of yet – we are waiting until next week when we anticipate that more robust data from the state will be available,” Good said.

On Thursday, Jan. 7, the city of Irvine shared a link to the newest section of HCA’s COVID-19 website, which is now tracking vaccination totals.

On Dec. 16, Orange County received more than 25,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine, and was expecting more than 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, once it received approval, according to Director of HCA, Dr. Clayton Chau.

Now, less than a month after the arrival of the first doses, the county is quickly administering the vaccine to eligible groups, beginning with firefighters and first responders.

Irvine City Council member Anthony Kuo shared a post on his Facebook page indicating that residents may experience traffic congestion in Irvine near Jamboree Road and Portola Parkway — due to the large Phase 1a population driving to vaccination sites.

 

In addition to reporting vaccination totals, HCA’s new “Vaccines Administered in OC” category includes demographic data on age groups, ethnicity and gender of the vaccinated.

To date, males account for 39 percent of all COVID-19 vaccinations in Orange County, while females account for 61 percent. In terms of age, 26 percent of individuals to receive the vaccine are between 35 and 44 years old.

While county leaders continue to tout the arrival of the vaccine as the glimmer of hope, COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high.

Orange County reached a grim milestone on Thursday, Jan. 7, as HCA reported 29 new COVID-19 related deaths – the county’s highest daily death total since the pandemic began.

Orange County also reported an additional 2,701 positive COVID-19 cases. Southern California’s intensive care unit capacity also remains impacted at zero percent.

Currently, there are 2,251 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with 502 patients being treated in the ICU.

The HCA’s COVID-19 Taskforce, which was established in September, has also released a COVID-19 vaccine distribution timeline, giving Orange County and Irvine residents an approximated month-to-month schedule of the tiered, multi-phased approach to administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the public.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce will also work with individuals to notify them of vaccine eligibility, through “targeted communications to older adult communities,” according to the Orange County
Vaccination Timeline.

Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is separated by five phases – Phase 1A, 1B & 1C. Within Phase 1, there are three individual tiers – Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 – used to identify level of risk.

In the months to come, Phase 2, which is estimated to begin in February or Match, will include critical care workers and moderate risk individuals.

“The California Department of Public Health this week opened COVID-19 vaccination to all of Phase 1A, which includes critical and health care workers,” Good said. “Groups have been contacted by the OC Health Care Agency to schedule appointments to receive vaccine at designated point of dispensing sites (PODs) in OC. The locations are only open to frontline workers with appointments. Walk-ups will be turned away and those with appointments must provide identification. Local fire departments are assisting with these PODs and have been provided 6,400 doses (in total) by the HCA last week and this week, thus far, to provide to registrants.”

Orange County’s next wave of vaccination eligibility will come in Phase 1B, which is scheduled to begin in February, according to the county’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

Phase 1B & 1C include high-risk individuals: Residents 75 and older, food and agriculture employees, education and child care workers.

On Dec. 30, the HCA released a county wide overview for all distribution phases of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility. 

For now, the county is working to contact and administer the vaccination to high risk individuals. Vaccinations for the general public, those individuals free of underlying health conditions, and younger populations are estimated Summer 2021, beginning with Phase 3 and Phase 4.