Orange County officials announced Tuesday that residents 65 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, marking a significant expansion of access to the vaccine in the county.
The decision followed new guidance issued Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and came ahead of the official recommendation from the state.
“My aim is to reduce hospitalizations and deaths as rapidly as possible, and we must prioritize our vaccine allocation to protect the most vulnerable in our community, ” said health officer Dr. Clayton Chau in a statement.
In an urgent meeting Tuesday night, the state’s vaccine advisory committee weighed whether to adopt the CDC’s updated guidance, which also prioritizes individuals with underlying health conditions.
The developments are the latest signs of increased vaccine availability. On Thursday , California instructed counties to open the first phase of vaccine eligibility to a wider pool of workers in the healthcare industry, including public health field staff, primary care clinics, specialty clinics, laboratory workers, dental clinics and pharmacy staff.
The county also on Tuesday advised residents not to visit the newly opened vaccine site at Disneyland Resort without an appointment.
“The county’s three existing POD [point of distribution] sites were overwhelmed by individuals without appointments today, effectively shutting down the vaccination sites. It is critical for people to understand that appointment slots are available based on vaccine availability. Showing up without an appointment stresses the system and depletes scarce resources,” the healthcare agency said in a statement.