SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County leaders are working with the state to develop an easy-to-use tool to help people determine when they are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination and schedule appointments.
The new CalVax system should be available in the next ten days, according to County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten.
The state-run application will allow people to put in their information and determine which phase and tier they fall into, schedule an appointment, and sign up for email and text alerts.
“I know this will alleviate tremendous anxiety,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Wednesday. “We will be an early adopter, a pilot project, one of the very few counties that’s selected to go early.”
Currently, individuals must decipher their eligibility from this page on the County Health Department’s website.
Appointments at county-run sites can be made here, although county sites are currently only accepting healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
County leaders say the plan is to start accepting signups from people 65 and older beginning the week of January 25. That will give seniors access to county-run sites like the Super Station at Petco Park.
On the flip side, some individual healthcare providers like UC San Diego Health have announced they will start vaccinating seniors sooner. Those providers will reach out to their patients directly.
The complicated, staggered rollout is designed to give healthcare providers with extra doses flexibility, while maintaining priority for individuals who are most at risk, according to Dr. Christian Ramers, a member of the county’s vaccine advisory group.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact there should be some priority to this,” he said. “An 85-year-old with an underlying condition is actually at much higher risk of COVID than a healthy 65-year-old.”
Dr. Wooten said the county hopes to open vaccinations to the next part of Phase 1B in “early February.” That tier includes people who work in education and childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture, including grocery and restaurant workers.
The vaccine advisory group is still working out some of the details, but Dr. Ramers said the county is unlikely to require people in that tier to show proof of their employment.
“Anytime you introduce a complexity, that can serve as a barrier,” he said. “I don’t want to make this like a voter ID law that prevents people from voting. We want people to come in and get vaccinated.”
Once an individual is vaccinated, they should sign up for a CDC tool called v-safe. The smartphone-based application sends text messages once a day, asking about any potential side effects.