Orange County’s mass Coronavirus vaccination site at Disneyland will close temporarily, due to severe weather across the U.S., which officials say has delayed local deliveries of vaccine supplies.
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County officials as a result also expect delays to the opening of a new vaccination site at the Anaheim Convention Center, which had been scheduled for Feb. 24.
Officials say the county’s Soka University vaccination site, which primarily dispenses the Pfizer vaccine, will remain open to provide second-dose Pfizer vaccines, supply and availability permitting.
The Santa Ana College site will also close temporarily beginning Feb. 20, and officials say the reopening date depends on receipt of additional Pfizer vaccine supply, according to the county.
“Severe weather across the country has delayed delivery of COVID-19 vaccine supplies across the State of California, including to Orange County,” reads a county statement sent out Thursday.
On Tuesday, an expected delivery of Moderna vaccines to the county didn’t arrive, officials said.
“As a result, Moderna vaccine inventory is very low. State guidance encourages dispensing all vaccine supplies as quickly as possible and does not allow for maintaining a large inventory in reserve.”
The Disneyland Super POD (Point of dispensing) site mostly administers the Moderna vaccine, so it will close through Monday, Feb. 22, “pending receipt of additional supply on (Feb. 22),” reads the county statement.
Officials say everyone who had scheduled an appointment at the affected sites will receive a notification through Othena with information regarding rescheduled appointments.
On Thursday, Orange County’s Health Care Agency Director Dr. Clayton Chau gave the county’s elected Board of Supervisors a private update on the issue.
State guidance “encourages vaccine providers, including county health departments, to dispense all vaccine supplies as quickly as possible and does not allow for maintaining a large inventory in reserve,” reads the memo to the board — obtained by Voice of OC — from Chau, who’s also the Public Health Officer.
On Wednesday night, residents on internet discussion platform Reddit had been posting about notifications they received, telling them their second dose appointments at the Disneyland site had been rescheduled.
Voice of OC asked the county last night about those posts, which didn’t get a response until the county’s statement went out Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says people who take the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should get their second dose after 3 weeks, and those who take the first dose of the Moderna vaccine get their second dose after one month.
Though the CDC still considers second doses administered within a “grace period” of 4 days before the recommended period “valid.”
And if vaccine delays are unavoidable for people, the CDC says second doses of the vaccines may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.
“If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series,” the CDC states on its website.
The number of people hospitalized with the virus continues to go down, now at 663 hospitalizations.
Meanwhile, deaths continue to rise, standing now at 3,685 since the start of the pandemic with 41 new deaths reported today.
To date, there have been 243,665 confirmed cases.
For context, Orange County has averaged around 20,000 deaths from other causes a year since 2016, including 543 annual flu deaths, according to state health data.
According to the state death statistics, cancer kills over 4,600 people, heart disease kills over 2,800, more than 1,400 die from Alzheimer’s disease and strokes kill over 1,300 people.
Orange County has already surpassed its yearly average 20,000 deaths, with 23,883 people dead as of December, according to the latest available state data.
Coronavirus deaths, meanwhile, have now surpassed the flu, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and strokes as a cause of death in Orange County. Presently, only cancer has killed more residents on an annual basis than the virus.
Brandon Pho is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member at Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @photherecord.