Big News on COVID-19 Vaccinations
Last updated 4/1/2021 at 11:14am
California takes a big step to stop the virus by extending COVID-19 vaccine eligibility on April 1 to everyone aged 50 and older, then to everyone aged 16 and older on April 15.
Blue Shield is expected to take full administrative control on March 31.
This opens the window to everyone over 16 years of age, and will depend on a massive import of vaccines. In the meantime, everyone should get ready to be immunized by signing up at https://myturn.ca.gov/.
Talk to family and friends and urge everyone to sign up. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Borrego was the first community in San Diego County to reach a herd immunity, or 75 to 80 percent immunizations? That means life can get back to normal, sooner, rather than later.
Borrego Springs has received unprecedented priority by the local fire departments’ Operation Collaboration rural access, providing vaccinations at the library. Operation Collaboration is a partnership between San Diego CalFire and 21 Fire Departments in San Diego county to help provide COVID-19 vaccines to rural and remote areas. The program is putting hundreds of paramedics to work. “We’re able to put them to use out in these rural sites where folks that have mobility issues and have a harder time getting into the city,” said Captain Thomas Shoots, San Diego CalFire and Operation Collaboration Public Information Officer.
In addition to March 25, the fire departments opened the site for 300 more shots on Sunday March 28.
Operation Collaboration will be back April 15 and April 18, ostensibly for second doses for those inoculated on March 25 and 28 respectively. It won’t do any harm to get signed up now for first doses, since everyone over age 16 will be eligible by that date.
Special thanks to County Supervisor Jim Desmond and his staff, and also the Borrego Springs COVID-19 Task Force, funded by the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, for urging the county to get vaccines to Borrego’s vulnerable populations.
Myturn.ca.gov is the state site for registration and notification of available vaccine appointments. This site is used by both San Diego County and Borrego Health for online scheduling. In addition to myturn.ca.gov, individuals may go to https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/vaccines/COVID-19-VaxEvents.html for information on local sites and dates where the vaccine is being administrated.
In addition, to supplies from the county, the Borrego Springs Clinic is expected to receive vaccine supplies directly from the federal government as a FQHC federally and state insured non-profit community clinic. Borrego Health also expects to receive Johnson and Johnson supplies soon. To sign up with Borrego Health go to myturn.ca.gov online, or call the clinic at (760) 767-5051. When shots are available the clinic will contact individuals that have registered to set up appointments.
Dr. Edgar Bulloch, CEO of Borrego Health, stated that Borrego Health is very excited about this newest announcement!
“We are still running into allocation issues with state doses. We are in the process of switching over to the third-party vendor Blue Shield as advised by the state. It is a very tedious process, and we are not alone in the struggles. A few counties have outright refused to contract with them. We are doing what we can.”
According to Dr. Bulloch, Borrego Health continues to work on the requirements for the partnership with HRSA and the CDC for the FQHC health center, COVID-19 vaccine program.
“The program is specifically designed to address health equity in vaccine delivery by providing us with a direct supply of COVID-19 vaccines (thereby bypassing the complex state process). I am really excited to get this up and running,” Bulloch added that he will keep the Sun updated on when it is sealed and ready to launch. Keep an eye out on the Borrego Sun website.
“We will be able to order the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from them, as well as our Moderna vaccines. Also, we are anticipating receiving funding from the American Rescue Plan soon. Monies from that funding are going to help us extend our assistance to communities like Borrego. We already have opened several positions for a mobile vaccine strike force. Our plans are to have designated staff run vaccine events so that our clinical staff can remain focused on attending to the healthcare concerns other than COVID.”
Bulloch also praised Principal Sherrilynn Polanco at the Borrego Springs High School for what she is doing for COVID testing at the elementary and high schools.
“She has an incredibly efficient set-up to get her students and staff tested. I will be working with her and her team to continue the pilot that was initiated with the San Diego County Health Department.”
Meanwhile, the Borrego Springs COVID-19 Task Force has a new site to register for shots, and promises call backs for anyone turned away. For more information about the next vaccinations from Operation Collaboration and Borrego Health, go to the website accesshealthborrego.org, or the Task Force’s Facebook page. The group can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.