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Safeway pharmacies start COVID-19 vaccine appointments in San Joaquin County

County staff said five Safeway pharmacies in the county will start taking appointments for coronavirus vaccinations.

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY, Calif. — Twenty thousand COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given out in San Joaquin County to date. While the county intends to focus on an equitable rollout plan, more options for vaccination are popping up for people 65 and older.

In a Board of Supervisor's meeting, county staff announced that five Safeway pharmacies will be offering the vaccine to people 65 and older through appointments. Community events for Sutter Tracy hospital were also in planning stages.

In regard to Safeway pharmacies, current sites are in Manteca, Stockton, Lodi, and Tracy. County staff said each of the five sites has the capacity to do about 80 vaccinations a day. Anyone who registers for an appointment would have to bring ID to verify their age and proof of residency. 

A link to that registration page is available HERE. Other vaccine providers can be found HERE. People 65 and older can also call 211.

The county is also holding a vaccination clinic at the San Joaquin County Agricultural Center for veterans who are 65 and older. The event is making use of a new online registration page which is meant to make sign-ups quick and easy. Keep in mind, anyone at the event who is not a veteran, 65 or older, or a resident of San Joaquin County will be turned away, according to the county.

"As we create mass (vaccination) clinic events or other events where we want to really direct people to an appointment making system, this is what we use," Dr. Maggie Park, county public health officer, told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The registration site is a newer feature on the San Joaquin County website, but it won't be the only one. Officials intend to release a vaccine interest form as well.

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"This will be a way for people to indicate that they're interested in a vaccine, so we're receiving hundreds of calls a day at public health, OES, and at 211 and we know that there's a great deal of interest," Dr. Park said Tuesday. 

Anyone who fills out the interest form will have the county contact them when they are eligible to receive the vaccine. It'll be available when ready at www.SJReady.org. Officials plan for the interest form to be ready by next week.

As of Wednesday, there have been 20,084 total vaccine doses administered in San Joaquin County. 

In neighboring Stanislaus County, officials have opted for a first come first serve approach with walk-ins. However, San Joaquin County said they've been focused on equitable distribution and getting the vaccine administered where it'll have the greatest impact, which includes prioritizing people who are more likely to get severe symptoms or die from the virus.

This is partly due to the limited availability of vaccine. The 65 and older population amounts to roughly 90,000 people, so that means they'll need 180,000 vaccines to get people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“We are committed to getting COVID-19 vaccines to the community as soon as possible, but with limited vaccines, we need to further prioritize those areas within the County where vaccination will have the greatest impact to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. A strictly first-come-first-serve system will put at greater risk those that have comorbidities or reside in areas where COVID-19 outcomes are among the worst,” Dr. Park said in a news release.

RELATED: 2,500 COVID-19 vaccine doses given out over weekend at San Joaquin County clinic

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