Ventura County begins vaccinating teachers, food and agriculture workers against COVID-19 earlier than planned

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One of the first educators to receive the vaccine in Ventura County is seen on Feb. 24, 2021, at a vaccine site at the Ventura County Office of Education. (Ventura County)

One of the first educators to receive the vaccine in Ventura County is seen on Feb. 24, 2021, at a vaccine site at the Ventura County Office of Education. (Ventura County)

Ventura County started vaccinating teachers, food and agriculture workers and emergency response personnel against COVID-19 on Wednesday, days earlier than planned.

The county was initially set to begin vaccinating the group next week, but opened up vaccine eligibility to teachers and other essential workers because there were appointment slots left over this week, Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers announced in a news conference Wednesday.

Officials aim to vaccinate all educators in all school districts in the county throughout March, Powers said.

The county is setting aside 30% of its vaccine allotment for food and agriculture workers, educators and emergency response personnel. About 10% of those vaccines are intended for teachers, according to Powers.

He said the county is still in need of a bigger vaccine supply, “but we are making a lot of progress.”

Those working at schools will get more information about vaccination plans from their districts, said Dr. Cesar Morales, deputy superintendent for the Ventura County Office of Education. 

“A fully functioning school system is one of the keys to getting our lives back to normal,” Morales said. “The sooner we can get school employees vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to bring all of our students back to the classroom.”

So far, eight of the county’s 20 school districts and several charter schools have resumed partial in-person instruction, mostly at the elementary level. And nearly all local school districts are holding in-person classes for students with special needs or for english learners.

The county plans to open up 28,000 vaccine appointments this week, and there were many still available Thursday. Residents can make appointments online or by calling 805-477-7161 if they have no internet access.

There were second dose appointments available for people who took Moderna shots Thursday, but appointments for Pfizer doses were full this week.

Those in Ventura County looking to get their second dose can get more information here.

Nearby Los Angeles County plans to begin vaccinating teachers, child care workers, grocery store employees, agriculture workers and emergency responders on March 1. Though the city of Long Beach is already vaccinating teachers and grocery store staff.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties have also already allowed teachers and child care workers to sign up for vaccines.

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