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COVID-19 vaccine eligibility expanded in Contra Costa County

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Contra Costa County is moving on to the next group in the COVID vaccine tier.

Contra Costa County announced that they are expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to teachers, grocery workers, and other essential workers, but supply is limited and appointments at county sites are filled through the next two weeks.

On Thursday, the county extended the eligibility to those who work in education and childcare, food and agriculture workers, and emergency services as listed in Phase 1B.

Residents 65 years and older are also eligible to sign up.

“We are committed to protecting all of our educators by ensuring they can access the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Diane Burgis, chair of the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors. “It is critical that we prioritize the health and well-being of all the essential workers who have cared for us and our families throughout the pandemic.”

County officials released a statement informing residents that ‘due to a temporary reduction in vaccine supply from the state, all appointments at county sites are filled through the next two weeks at least.’

“We got notified from the state that we are getting slightly less this week than we did last week and we can expect a similar amount the following week so that’s why we aren’t really able to offer a lot of first dose vaccines,” Dr. Chris Farnitano said. 

Dr. Chris Farnitano with Contra Costa Health Services says the county is holding vaccines this week for second doses.

“We are not actually able to schedule a lot of vaccine appointments this week for essential workers but we will start putting people on the waiting list and starting to get those names so when we do have those vaccines we can start offering them appointments,” Dr. Farnitano said. 

The slowdown should last about two weeks. Dr. Farnitano says the situation is expected to improve and the county is still on track to meet the goal of one million doses into arms by the Fourth of July.

“In a couple weeks there will be another federal allocation that’s going to federally qualify health centers in our county and that will add to our supply and that includes centers like La Clinica and LifeLong health centers,”  Dr. Farnitano said.

In the meantime, there are other options outside the county health department to make an appointment for the shot through your healthcare providers like Kaiser or state run vaccination sites.

Eligible groups can sign up with OptumServe in Walnut Creek.

Contra Costa County health officials are recommending residents in the approved vaccine groups to sign up for the Oakland Coliseum site through MyTurn

The mass vaccination site opened Tuesday and hopes to run for about eight weeks and inoculate up to 6,000 people per day.

A representative with MyTurn says certain counties sent out access codes that you should receive from your employer to get through the system. 

If you need to cancel your existing appointment or need to make an appointment for the second dose, you should call 1-833-829-2626.

As more appointments become available, health services will prioritize the eligible essential workers and those 65 and older.

For the latest on Contra Costa’s COVID-19 response, visit cchealth.org/coronavirus.

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