Forty-five Newport Beach Fire Department employees received COVID-19 vaccines between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28, in the initial stages of a major countywide rollout to first responders. Officials expect the number to increase to 65 in coming days.
The Orange County Health Care Agency has authorized three sites in Orange County for paramedics, firefighters and full-time, sworn safety officers to get vaccinated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which was approved by the FDA after demonstrating 94 percent effectiveness in clinical trials. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, 28 days apart, to reach maximum protection against the coronavirus.
The sites are also offering training for paramedics to deliver the vaccine, said Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles. Those who are trained then return to their home agencies to train others, with the goal of quickly building a large network of trained paramedics.
“The paramedic training will really help scale up and prepare for a more efficient distribution of the vaccine as soon as it is available in larger quantities,” Boyles said.
On Wednesday, the City received state authorization to host community clinics to administer the vaccine, beginning with the highest-risk groups. The City’s community clinics will complement other distribution sites such as hospitals, doctor’s offices and pharmacies.
“Providing opportunities for our residents to receive safe, effective vaccines is the top City priority,” said Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery.
Avery noted that the City will be working closely with Hoag Hospital and the County Health Care Agency to provide clear, accurate information over the next several months about the importance of getting vaccinated and the effectiveness of the vaccines.