Want a COVID-19 vaccine? Fill out this form online, county officials say. DO NOT CALL 211

Tulare County information lines are slammed with callers looking for a rare COVID-19 vaccine that remains limited to healthcare workers, caregivers and the elderly, officials said Thursday afternoon. health.

Residents interested in being vaccinated against COVID-19 are asked to complete an online “COVID Vaccine Interest Form” and not to dial 211.

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“The supply of COVID vaccines remains LIMITED, and currently Tulare County does not have enough vaccines to satisfy all who are eligible,” Carrie Monteiro, county spokesperson, wrote in the announcement.

“By filling out the form of interest and alerting county officials of your interest in the COVID vaccine, Tulare County Public Health will contact you directly to make an appointment when more vaccines become available,” he said. she explains.

To avoid long wait times on the phone, residents are encouraged to visit the county’s COVID-19 vaccine webpage for information where possible.

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For now, the county is only offering vaccines to those eligible for Phase 1A of the California vaccine distribution plan and to seniors. Phase 1A includes most of the frontline healthcare workers.

County health officials have yet to announce when Tulare will move to the next phase of the state plan, which includes first responders and most essential workers, including educators and farm laborers.

Last week, Monteiro said the county was constrained by the lack of vaccine availability. Because so many county residents are eligible for the vaccine in the next phase, health officials wait until they have enough doses to meet needs.

The county is working with public agencies including schools, firefighters and police departments to administer doses at some essential workplaces starting this week.

As of Thursday, about 10,000 people have completed the vaccine interest form, and the county has about 7,000 doses of the vaccine. Each vaccine requires two doses given 21 or 28 days apart to be fully effective.

If you’ve already received your first dose, Monteiro says you don’t need to call 211 or contact the county. Instead, health officials will contact you directly by phone or email to schedule your second appointment for the dose. In most cases, the second doses will be given at the same places as the first dose.

Until the vaccine is widely available, Monteiro says it is “extremely important” for all residents to follow public health guidelines, even after being vaccinated.

“It is extremely important that residents vaccinated against COVID continue to maintain safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including masking and social distancing, until vaccines are widely available,” said said Monteiro. “It is imperative to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Tulare County by practicing social and physical distancing of six feet or more between people and not participating in any social gatherings of any kind. “

As of Thursday, the county had 4,830 confirmed active cases and 529 deaths. The rate of spread of the virus has kept the county in the state’s purple level, shutting down many businesses and dining halls and limiting most grades to online education.

Joshua Yeager covers water, agriculture, parks and housing for the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Receive alerts and stay up to date on all things Tulare County for as little as $ 1 per month. Subscribe today.

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