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Press Release

CalOptima to Promote COVID-19 Vaccinations

CalOptima members in nursing homes to receive shots in first phase

ORANGE, Calif. (December 18, 2020)

CalOptima joins the broader health care community in welcoming the arrival of COVID-19 vaccinations in Orange County this week. Frontline hospital staff who serve CalOptima members and CalOptima members residing in long-term care facilities will be among the first recipients of the FDA-authorized vaccine.

The Orange County Health Care Agency is leading the local effort to distribute the vaccines, and CalOptima is collaborating with the agency to ensure that communications to key groups reinforce the benefits of the vaccine for individuals and the community. CalOptima has posted information on our website here. CalOptima providers also received information about the vaccine here.

The vaccine is particularly important to CalOptima’s nearly 5,000 nursing home residents because of their chronic conditions and higher risk of death if they contract COVID-19. Their vaccinations will be coordinated through community-based pharmacies. Further, CalOptima serves low-income members who live in communities disproportionally impacted by higher case rates, yet those members may need encouragement to seek the vaccine once California permits distribution more broadly. CalOptima will engage community-based organizations to outreach to these members so they have trusted information in multiple languages that builds their confidence and offers direction on obtaining vaccines at no cost.

“CalOptima provides health care coverage for one in four Orange County residents, including some of our most vulnerable, so we have a major role to play in making sure members understand the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, Chair of the CalOptima Board of Directors and Vice Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “CalOptima’s frontline workers in nursing facilities and in health networks are among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as they face a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. Their dedication and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration.”

As a community-based health plan, CalOptima will use longstanding collaborative relationships with providers to advance vaccination in Orange County. “For 25 years, CalOptima has partnered with health networks and doctors to provide access to quality care for vulnerable residents,” said Emily Fonda, M.D., Interim Chief Medical Officer. “We look forward to working with the provider community to facilitate their efforts in administering this critical protection against COVID-19.”

About CalOptima

A county organized health system, CalOptima provides publicly funded health care coverage for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities in Orange County, California. CalOptima’s mission is to provide members with access to quality health care services delivered in a cost-effective and compassionate manner. In total, CalOptima serves nearly 800,000 members with a network of 9,000 primary care doctors and specialists as well as 40 acute and rehab hospitals.

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