California is immediately allowing residents 65 and older to get scarce coronavirus vaccines, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

The move puts seniors in line before emergency workers, teachers, childcare providers and food and agriculture workers even as counties complain they already don’t have enough doses to go around.

“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” Newsom said in a statement. “To those not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccine into the state.”

As for Tulare County, the Tulare County Health & Human Service Agency (HHSA) has partnered with the United Way of Tulare County to activate a COVID Vaccine Call Center for residents seeking information about the vaccine for COVID-19. The Call Center will assist in providing vital information on distribution and delivery of the much-anticipated vaccine to end the pandemic. The COVID Vaccine Call Center will be able to provide information on the COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule in Tulare County, assist residents in determining the distribution phase in which they are eligible to receive the vaccine, and assist those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to make appointments at a Tulare County Vaccine Distribution Clinic. Vaccine appointments can be made through the Call Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding holidays.

Residents seeking information on the COVID-19 vaccine can simply dial 2-1-1 to connect to the COVID Vaccine Call Center.

County Seeks Volunteers to Assist with COVID Vaccine Rollout

Tulare County HHSA is seeking volunteers to assist in the rollout and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. The County is calling on residents with medical experience as well as anyone willing and able to assist in the massive vaccination effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 vaccines are the best line of defense in our fight against this disease, but we have a heavy load and a big job in front of us to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Tulare County residents,” stated Timothy Lutz, Agency Director for the Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency. “That is why we are calling on our retired or inactive health care workers with active licenses to join us in distributing and administering this vaccine. Your help is going to be critical, especially when we expand eligibility to the general public.”

County health officials are putting out a call to nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, EMTs, dentists, and doctors in an effort to have enough medical workers in place to administer the shots once vaccine supplies are sufficient to begin the next phases of distribution. Currently, the COVID vaccine is being distributed to those eligible in Phase 1A in Tulare County, which encompasses health care workers and residents in congregate senior living facilities.

Don’t have clinical experience or medical training? No problem. The County is also seeking community volunteers to assist in the massive vaccination effort, such as interpreters, computer data entry, and other support roles. Those qualified and interested in volunteering can sign up online:

Vaccine Supply is Limited, But Preparations Are Underway for Phase 1B

Due to limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, Tulare County is currently distributing the vaccine to those eligible in Phase 1A only. Preparations are underway to begin rolling out vaccines to those eligible in Phase 1B as soon as possible, once Tulare County has ample supply of vaccine. For those eligible in Phase 1B, including educators, public safety, social services, food and agriculture, Tulare County HHSA encourages you to ask your employer if the vaccine will be distributed to you directly in the workplace, as the County is actively coordinating COVID vaccine distribution directly to employers. The next phases of COVID Vaccine Distribution are as follows:

Phase 1B

Phase 1B, Tier 1:

  • Individuals aged 75 years and older

  • Essential workers in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture

Phase 1B, Tier 2:

  • Individuals aged 65–74 years of age

  • Essential workers in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing

  • Congregate settings: incarceration facilities and homeless

Phase 1C

  • Individuals 50–64 years of age

  • Persons aged 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions

  • Essential workers in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations/community-based essential functions

For the COVID-19 Vaccine Schedule in Tulare County and for the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine, dial 2-1-1 or visit https://covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.

Tulare County residents can inform County health officials of their intent to get vaccinated for COVID-19 by completing the Tulare County COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form. Residents can sign up for vaccine notifications of when they are eligible and where they can go to get vaccinated by completing the Tulare County COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form online at https://arcg.is/0KKez4.

Together we can end this pandemic in our communities and begin our recovery in reopening local schools and lifting closure restrictions on businesses, with protection from COVID-19 through the defense of a vaccine.

For more information about COVID-19, visit www.tchhsa.org/ncov and www.covid19.tularecounty.ca.gov

 

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