As Supervisors Push for More Vaccine, Thousands of Doses May Be Spoiled

February 10, 2021 Updated: February 11, 2021

Orange County’s vaccination efforts faced another challenge Feb. 10 when a refrigeration problem at its Aliso Viejo super site rendered some doses currently unusable.

“We are working with the vaccine manufacturer to determine if the vaccine can be used and will confirm at a later time,” county spokesperson Molly Nichelson told The Epoch Times. “Additional vaccine was brought in to fulfill all of the appointments scheduled at Soka.  No disruption to our vaccination efforts.”

About 6,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were potentially spoiled at the Soka University vaccination site in Aliso Viejo, said Orange County chief executive Frank Kim.

“It’s in that range,” Kim told City News Service. “We don’t have an exact number yet.”

The potential setback happened as the Orange County Board of Supervisors continues to lobby the state for a larger allotment of vaccine doses.

The Orange County Health Care Agency’s (OCHCA) inoculation efforts could move a lot faster if it had more supply to work with, said Supervisor Don Wagner.

He called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to do more to help.

 “Governor, if your goal is to roll this thing out in a big way and hit a certain number of vaccines by a certain time, look to Orange County because we are doing the job better than most of the surrounding counties,” Wagner told The Epoch Times Feb. 10. “We are doing the job better than most of the counties in the state. So, Governor we’re going to help you achieve that goal if you steer more resources our way.”

The county receives 20 percent of the doses allocated by the governor to Orange County, while 80 percent is distributed to private hospitals and health facilities.

More options

In the private sector, several CVS locations in Orange County—including Irvine, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach—will begin offering the vaccines Feb. 11.

“That’ll help get more shots in more arms,” Wagner said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of demand and are working very hard to satisfy it.”

He added: “They’ve got dosages that weren’t coming otherwise to the county, so there’s more supply and folks are able to access that very easily.”

Eligible individuals–healthcare workers, some law enforcement, and those 65 and older–can sign up on CVS’s website or through its app.

Back to normal

Wagner said the timeline for reopening and returning to normalcy depends on many factors, notably the ability to vaccinate Orange County residents in a timely manner.

“It’s going to depend on how quickly we are able to vaccinate, especially in some of our harder hitting neighborhoods,” he said.

Wagner believes that the county is on track to reach the less-restrictive orange tier due to the decrease in COVID cases since the mid-November case surge.

“We aren’t seeing cases at the same level as before, so I’m encouraged that we’ll be able to get there, relatively soon,” Wagner said.

“I am optimistic we will get to the next tier. We’re in purple right now…We’ll get to orange soon.”

Appeasing apprehensions

Some residents of Orange County have been reluctant to receive the vaccine, but Wagner urged those people to reconsider.

“The vaccines–according to all of the medical information that I’ve been given–are safe,” he said. “I would personally have zero problem with taking it myself. I would have no problem whatsoever with a family member taking the vaccine. I would encourage folks to look very closely at it if they’re on the fence.”

City News Service contributed to this report.