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Mission Viejo has approved a mutual aid agreement with Orange County for COVID-19 vaccination efforts that will allow the city to be reimbursed for costs associated with vaccinating community members.
Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at email@example.com.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency determined that each Orange County vaccination jurisdiction is eligible for reimbursements.
In late 2020, Orange County launched Operation Independence, with the goal to vaccinate all willing residents of the county by July 4, according to a Mission Viejo staff report. This vaccination goal requires several vaccination sites across the county, called points of dispensing.
The agreement will reimburse Mission Viejo for staffing the sites within the city’s jurisdiction, though it is unclear what the dollar amount of the reimbursement will be.
The City Council voted unanimously to authorize the deal at a March 23 meeting.
“We don’t know what the initial (dollar figure) is at this point,” Paul Castimanes, the city administrative manager of public services, said during the meeting.
More effort is still needed, Castimanes noted.
“There’s a lot of work to do between now and July 4th, but I know for the employees it’s been a real positive experience working at the (vaccination sites),” he said.
Mayor Trish Kelley spoke of her own personal experience.
“When I arrived for my first shot, it was really nice to see a friendly face,” said Kelley.
Prior to voting, Council member Ed Sachs voiced concern in regards to liability of staff if any vaccination goes awry.
City Attorney Bill Curley assured him that “the contractual protections keep the city treasury free of liability.”
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