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Vaccine eligibility opens up in April

web Screen Shot 2021 03 03 at 2.51.47 PM
Screenshot from County of Ventura Vimeo
Gov. Gavin Newsom visits the COVID-19 vaccination center at the Ventura County Office of Education in Camarillo on March 2.

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter
All California residents over the age of 50 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination starting April 1 and, come April 15, everyone over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive their shot. 
Gov. Gavin Newsom made the encouraging announcement at a press conference at a vaccination site in Orange County on March 25. 
As of March 24, more than 36% of Ventura County residents 16 and older have received their first dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines, with more than 17% having already received both doses.
This comes out to a total of 246,188 first doses and 116,136 second doses that have been administered thus far.
On March 15, vaccine eligibility opened up to 16- to 64-year-olds with health conditions. At Tuesday’s Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting, Barry Zimmerman, the newly appointed Health Care Agency director, said: “When we included the 16- to 64-year-olds with health conditions, that added about 80,000 yo 100,000 individuals into the eligibility pool. So as you can see, we only received vaccination supply of about 28,000 this week. That’s what we’ve been averaging. It’s actually a little bit down from two weeks ago. So I put out there that vaccines are still limited, and so therefore we have greater demand than we have vaccine opportunity to open up appointments and to manage new people coming in.”
Zimmerman added that the county is expecting a ramp up in vaccine supply throughout April, with the state expecting to receive a higher volume of vaccines from the federal government. 
The county estimates that 361,820 residents are a part of the current phase, of which 246,188 have received at least their first dose. More than 75% of all seniors 65 and up have received at least their first dose as well.
Nordhoff High School is continuing to be a vaccination site. At the March 23 Ojai City Council meeting, Ojai City Manager James Vega said as of March 22, the site has provided 7,500 vaccines in the 13 days it has been open.
Vega said the county is planning to continue providing vaccines at Nordhoff through April. “They are shifting to second-dose vaccines,” Vega said.
The COVID-19 testing at Sarzotti Park has also been extended through the end of April. It is a free walk-up site that is open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
“We are hearing that there is no line,” Vega said. “So it’s a quick five minute in-and-out situation.”
It is important to get tested because COVID-19 is still spreading in the county, Vega said.
At the weekly county COVID-19 press conference March 24, Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin said he received a report that morning of the number of variants of the virus in the county. He said: “This report said that there were 45 U.K. variants in the county, that there was one South African variant, and that there are seven of the Brazilian variant. We’re concerned about these variants because they spread more easily, because they can cause more serious disease. They can reoccur — especially the Brazilian variant — after you’ve previously been infected with the natural COVID virus. But as it turns out, not so much after the vaccination. In fact, we believe the immunity you get from vaccination is better than the immunity that you get from the disease itself.”

 

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