Orange County’s second mega COVID-19 vaccine distribution site is set to be opened Saturday at Soka University in Aliso Viejo.
The opening of the second Super POD — or Point of Distribution — site follows will come 10 days after the first one opened at Disneyland. County officials are aiming to have up to five sites throughout the county.
The Disneyland site is outdoors, but vaccines at Soka University will be administered in the campus gymnasium. Residents may use the county’s Othena app or website to make a reservation for either site.
The deal with Soka University almost didn’t happen, said Aliso Viejo City Councilman Dave Harrington. There was concern among university officials about wanting to have the gymnasium available when they bring students back to campus. Classes are now being conducted virtually.
Soka University was considered because it was used for Point of Distribution practice exercises by the city for several years, Harrington said.
Officials with the county and Orange County Fire Authority decided on using the gym when they looked at the site, Harrington said.
“Soka didn’t want to do it long-term,” Harrington said.
Aliso Viejo City Manager David Doyle “got involved to make it work. He made sure they kept talking to each other, so credit goes to Dave Doyle and his staff for figuring this out,” Harrington said.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said county officials are working on options if they have to give up the site when students return to campus. The two sides have an agreement that Soka University can use the gym when needed as long as the county is notified in advance, Kim said.
“The bigger issue is are we going to have enough vaccines available,” Harrington said.
Kim shares the concern, but officials believe they have enough vaccines to run the two super POD sites.
Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said one advantage of the Soka University site is its convenience for seniors in the area such as residents of the Laguna Woods Village retirement community. County officials are providing vaccines for seniors 65 and older because they are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
About 2,500 to 3,000 people have made appointments for a vaccination at Soka University, Kim said. The county has vaccinated about 55,000 people, Kim said.
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