County asks for patience as vaccine eligibility expands
by Katie Cadiao
Published - 02/27/21 - 07:15 AM | 1969 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print

As many as half a million additional people in San Diego County will become eligible on Saturday for the COVID-19 vaccine, but supplies remain limited, and it’s expected to take weeks before all those included in the next eligibility tier could get vaccinated.

Those working in emergency serviceseducation and childcare, as well as food and agriculture can begin receiving vaccinations starting Feb. 27. Each of those sectors includes a wide variety of occupations, and there are vaccination plans in place for certain subsets of those groups.

Those not covered by specific vaccination plans for their occupation should contact their primary care doctor or schedule an appointment at

Newly-eligible essential workers

Emergency services includes law enforcement officers, whose vaccination appointments will be coordinated by Scripps Health. Others in that sector include those working in 911 call centers, building security, disaster monitoring and hazardous materials response.

Education and childcare includes all teachers and staff at those facilities. Those working in transitional kindergarten through 12th grade will have appointments coordinated by the County Office of Education through the California Schools VEBA. They must use and should not show up at vaccination sites prior to an appointment confirmed through VEBA

Education staff working at childcare facilities or in higher education not covered by California Schools VEBA should go through their primary care doctor or visit

Food and agriculture includes workers for any grocery or convenience store; those supporting restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations, including food preparation; food manufacturing; a variety of support functions for food and animal feed industries.

The food and agriculture sector also includes farm workers. They will be the focus of a campaign by Operation Collaboration, a coalition of firefighters and medical personnel providing COVID-19 vaccines throughout the region. Operation Collaboration will visit fields and agricultural areas to deliver vaccines to workers in remote areas of the county.

The newly eligible groups are in addition to health care workers and anyone 65 and older. People 16 years of age and older with underlying conditions, regardless of occupation, can begin signing up for vaccinations on March 15.

State Metrics:

  • San Diego County’s state-calculated, adjusted case rate is currently 15 cases per 100,000 residents (as of Feb. 23) and the region is in Purple Tier or Tier 1.

  • The testing positivity percentage is 5%, placing the County in Tier 2 or the Red Tier. While the testing positivity rate for the County qualifies it for the Red Tier, the state uses the most restrictive metric – in this case the adjusted case rate – and assigns counties to that tier. Therefore, the County remains in the Purple Tier or Tier 1.

  • The County’s health equity metric, which looks at the testing positivity for areas with the lowest healthy conditions, is 7.4% and is in the Red Tier or Tier 2. This metric does not move counties to more restrictive tiers but is required to advance to a less restrictive tier.

  • The California Department of Public Health assesses counties on a weekly basis. The next report is scheduled for Tuesday, March. 2.

Community Setting Outbreaks:

  • Seven new community outbreaks were confirmed Feb. 24: four in business settings, one in a daycare/preschool/childcare setting, one in a faith-based agency setting and one in a retail setting.

  • In the past seven days (Feb. 18 through Feb. 24), 30 community outbreaks were confirmed.

  • The number of community outbreaks remains above the trigger of seven or more in seven days.

  • A community setting outbreak is defined as three or more COVID-19 cases in a setting and in people of different households over the past 14 days.


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