San Diego County health officials announced Wednesday that vaccinations for teachers and other essential workers will begin Saturday because most seniors have received a dose and appointments are opening.
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said vaccines are expanding to the next group in Phase 1B, which includes teachers, school staff, child care workers, emergency services personnel and employees in food and agriculture.
Fletcher, who spoke at the county’s weekly news conference, said there are roughly 500,000 people in the next group and cautioned that it will be a while before appointments are easy to schedule.
“There won’t be half a million appointments available on Saturday,” he said. “So we need people to be patient.”
Fletcher said the county is keeping 20% of the new doses in reserve to vaccinate K-12 teachers and staff. These appointments will be scheduled through the school districts.
Anyone else in the following Phase 1B category can make an appointment through the online list of county vaccination sites or state MyTurn.ca.gov.
Fletcher said 68% of seniors in the county have received at least one dose, and the county will continue to encourage them to get vaccinated.
He said that as the county opens vaccines, Cal Fire teams will be dispatched to agricultural areas to vaccinate hard-to-reach groups.
So far, a total of 526,242 county residents have received at least one dose and 196,079 people, 7.3% of the population, are fully vaccinated.
“Even with the disruptions in the last few weeks in vaccine availability and supply, we are receiving gun vaccines at an impressive rate,” Fletcher said.
He expressed optimism that vaccine shipments would pick up later this week and would soon be supplemented with a new single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.