Orange County's First Responders Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

Orange County's First Responders Receive COVID-19 Vaccine
Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., on Dec. 20, 2020. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo, Pool)

COVID-19 vaccinations are underway for first responders throughout Southern California, including firefighters and police officers in Orange County.

The county's first 100 firefighters were inoculated Dec. 26 with the Moderna vaccine at the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Regional Fire Operations and Training Center in Irvine.

Vaccinations for the OCFA are scheduled to continue during the next few weeks, but aren’t required of the more than 1,500 personnel, according to news reports.

Jaimee Blashaw, the public relations manager for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, told The Epoch Times that the department coordinated the first vaccinations for some of its custody personnel last week. She added that no further details were available regarding additional vaccinations in the department.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Dec. 28 that the Los Angeles Fire Department had received 3,200 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, allowing it to administer first doses to “virtually everybody” in the department.

The vaccine is expected to be offered to all department firefighters in the next two weeks, Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a Dec. 28 news conference. The event was held with Garcetti downtown at Station 4, where personnel were being inoculated.

The Orange County Health Care Agency is taking a phased approach to vaccinations, with health care and frontline workers set to receive the first batches of vaccine. Those living or working at skilled nursing facilities will also receive top priority, alongside other medical professionals.

The second phase of the vaccine will target high-risk individuals, and is expected to roll out in February or March 2021. Vaccines are expected to become available to the general public next summer.

On Dec. 16, St. Joseph Hospital employees became the first Orange County recipients of the COVID-19 vaccination. Later that day, personnel at the University of California–Irvine (UC Irvine) Medical Center in the City of Orange were administered their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.