There have been endless questions related to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine since the shots became available nationwide. In order to help our community stay up to date on eligibility as we move forward fighting this virus, please look for updates in the Eagle and online.

Coronado Island has two pharmacies, Walgreens and Rite-Aid, that have been designated vaccination sites through the Federal Retail Pharmacy program; Imperial Beach has CVS. However, Walgreens is currently not administering the vaccine due to a delay in supply. Rite-Aid is currently vaccinating those eligible to receive the vaccine. The eligibility factor in the tier system created by the federal government is part of what has been the most confusing for all of us. The current guidelines to receive the vaccine are as follows:

- Age 65 and over

- Teachers K-12, daycare/preschool and staff

- Healthcare, food and agriculture workers

- Long term care facility residents and staff

- Pharmacy staff

- Public Health employees

- Emergency service workers

For more up-to-date detailed information, visit https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/hhsa/programs/phs/community_epidemiology/dc/2019-nCoV/vaccines/phases.html.

One of the best tools at our disposal during the vaccination process is checking the pharmacy websites for updates. The regulations and eligibility will change according to supply and demand factors. Each site provides information on the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, as well as health and safety guidelines as they refer to the vaccine. These websites also help with the actual registration for an appointment, and to determine if you are actually eligible to receive the vaccine. The websites are: www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/covid-qualfier; www.walgreens.com; and www.cvs.com.

When you are on the pharmacy website, there is a vaccine scheduler that will take you step by step through questions to both determine your eligibility, and make an appointment for the vaccine. There are qualifying questions asking age, profession and health condition. Your personal answers help determine whether your tier can get the vaccine. You receive an immediate answer and you will either be able to schedule your appointment, or be told you are not eligible and to check back at a later date. Appointment availability changes daily so the pharmacies suggest that you check back as often as possible.

The pharmacies in Coronado and Imperial Beach are overloaded with questions about the vaccine. Store and pharmacy associates are not able to schedule appointments, so it is more efficient to go directly to their websites. They are not able to determine the vaccine supply or which groups are eligible for the shot. They are just there to fully support state and local jurisdictions and guidelines.

Healthcare facilities and the CDC are still recommending we continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash our hands regularly. Even if you have received both doses of the vaccine, the CDC still asks that we follow these recommendations:

*Wear a mask over your nose and mouth

*Stay at least 6 feet away from others

*Avoid crowds

*Avoid poorly ventilated areas

*Wash your hands often

It’s important for everyone to continue using these tools to help us stop the pandemic as we learn more about how the COVID-19 vaccines work under real-world conditions.

Stay patient and vigilant Coronado. We hopefully are approaching the end of a year filled with anxiety and missing those close to us. Just think about how special a hug will be when it’s in person.

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