coronavirus pandemic

Orange County Opens Vaccines to 65 and Older Via App

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It’s being called Operation Independence because Orange County Health officials are determined that by the Fourth of July they will be able to vaccinate every resident who wants one.

Yvette Tovar managed to get her 80-something parents in the queue Wednesday, a process the Silva family admits was not easy.

Health care officials say only those who live or work in Orange County can use the Othena app to register and make an appointment on line.

By early morning there was a traffic jam along Katella Avenue as authorities warned anyone without an appointment would be turned away from Disneyland, turned into a vaccination supersite.

"It was difficult and last night it crashed. I think I got on just before it all happened. But sold out for next three days I was told," said Linda Crum, who got vaccinated Wednesday at the Disneyland supersite.

The free vaccination is being distributed in a parking lot right next to the happiest place on earth. Disneyland closed its gates 10 months ago because of concerns over the spread of the virus.

Now it is the first super pod — or point of distribution site -- in Orange County. Four more sites are pending.

Ernestina Silva feels like she won the health care lottery.

"It makes me feel more safe. There's still have alot to do here," she said, after getting her shot.

Some seniors are struggling because they're not sure how to navigate online appointment booking. Gordon Tokumatsu reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

Authorities say there is a reason they opened the site to those 65 and older.

"A large number of seniors are in hospital -- 72% in icu beds. So we know who’s vulnerable. We know who’s dying," said Dr. Clayton Chau, Director of OC Health Care Agency.

Right now the County has only enough vaccines to take care of 5% of the entire OC population --- 170,000 coronavirus vaccinations available for more than 3 million people.

Part of what the County is trying to demonstrate is they can push thousands through at Disneyland, hoping the state will give them more doses of the vaccination.

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