Disney vaccination site
© Ashley Ludwig
The Disneyland Resort, Orange County's largest employer, will be a new coronavirus vaccination "supersite. The theme park that closed to guests and workers alike in March is using its famed parking areas, line management, and open space outside of the parks to host what is hoped to be the ultimate cure to reopening the main gates.

Opening this week, Disneyland will be the first large-scale venue in the county. Over the summer, Disneyland Resort reopened Downtown Disney to shopping and dining, though outside eating has been shut down during the most recent coronavirus outbreak. Buena Vista Street remains open to shoppers, with strict rules as to wearing masks, social distancing, and a plethora of handwashing stations. Thousands of park employees have lost their jobs due to the lengthy closure, though large scale vaccinations could be a sign of better days to come.

Other theme parks in the county are slated for similar use soon.

Right in "the heart of Orange County," Disneyland "has stepped up to host the county's first Super Point of Dispensing or POD site — undertaking a monumental task in our vaccination distribution process," Andrew Do, acting chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said Monday.

Knott's Berry Farm will also host a supersite, according to Supervisor Doug Chaffee. According to Chaffee, the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa are also on the table to host a vaccination supersite.

Ultimately, the county aims to have five regional supersites. However, Disneyland Resort is the first and only supersite in the immediate future due to resources and doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

"We don't have enough vaccine to open another one," Chaffee said of opening a second supersite. "We can't open up too much until we have the quantity of vaccine we need."

The Disneyland Resort site will be operational later this week, with more details expected at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

Most of those eligible to be vaccinated will be contacted through their employer to schedule an appointment via a third-party app developed in cooperation with the county.

Though hosted at the resort parking areas, vaccine distribution will be managed through a phased, tiered approach established by the California Department of Public Health.

Currently, vaccinations are available to Orange County residents and those who work in Orange County who meet the criteria for what is referred to as Phase 1a, all tiers. That group includes law enforcement first responders in high-risk communities and recently expanded to include those aged 75 and older.

Multiple mobile sites are operating throughout the county, with officials currently working to vaccinate the elderly in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, Chaffee said.

Orange County CEO Frank Kim said a recent county survey shows that 54% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are 65 or older, and 72% of the intensive care unit patients are 65 and older.

More shipments of vaccines were expected on Monday the county has 40,000 doses in storage, Kim said.

"We're doing about 3,000 a day and the three fire department sites, which is good," Kim said. "We'll probably be doing two or three thousand vaccinations a day when we get our system ironed out."

Chaffee said county officials are also seeking volunteers to help with a range of services from traffic control to computer registrations. Volunteers can register at volunteers.oneoc.org.

All of this is imperative, as an additional 3,259 new patients tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, and 29 more residents were reported to have succumbed to the disease. In all, nearly 200,000 residents have tested positive since the pandemic began, and over 2,000 have lost their lives since March.

City News Service contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on the Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch.