Supervisor Nathan Fletcher briefs the media
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher briefs the media on the coronavirus pandemic. Image from live stream

San Diego County health officials said Thursday that vaccinations of teachers, law enforcement and other essential workers will likely begin within two to three weeks.

At the county’s weekly briefing on the pandemic, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said that if vaccine shipments continue at recent levels, virtually all residents 65 and older who want a vaccine will have received one.

“I feel very confident it will be in the next 2-3 weeks at the latest that we will be able to move into the next tier,” Fletcher said.

That tier includes people in emergency services, childcare, education, food and agriculture. After that come other essential workers, and then residents aged 50 to 65.

Asked when the over-50 group could expect to be vaccinated, Fletcher said it would be “in the coming weeks, not months” but stressed that he could not be more specific.

He said the county is optimistic that the supply of vaccines will increase significantly in early March, and continues to open new vaccination sites in preparation.

For now, however, the county’s vaccination efforts continue to focus on seniors.

“Our seniors constitute the vast majority of COVID deaths,” Fletcher said. “So the supply of vaccines that we have is dedicated toward saving lives.”

As of Thursday, according to the official vaccination dashboard, the county has been shipped 703,200 doses and administered 550,707 with 95,473 residents fully vaccinated after two doses.

Fletcher said the county is being careful to honor appointments for second doses. “As new vaccines come in, we honor second dose appointments first,” he said.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.