The good news is that the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Orange County has dropped significantly in March. 

However, only 15% of our County’s residents have been fully vaccinated, so we must continue to follow the safety protocols until that number dramatically increases.  As the head of the Centers for Disease Control warned the American public this week, if we are not careful right now, there will be another dramatic surge of new cases in the weeks ahead.

The only way out of this global pandemic is through vaccines!  We must get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible to save lives and to stop the virus from spreading before more variants are created.

On April 15th, anyone 16 years and older will become eligible for the vaccine.

That’s why it is critical that we quickly set up as many mass vaccination sites as possible, including a mass vaccination site at the Great Park, which I have advocated for months now.

Throughout this pandemic, the City of Irvine has failed to take the lead in fighting the pandemic, relying instead on the County and other cities to set up mass vaccination sites.  Here we are four long months after receiving the first vaccines in the County, and Irvine still has failed to establish a mass vaccination site at the Great Park, where experts say 5,000 to 10,000 doses a day can be administered.

During her first week in office, former Mayor of Costa Mesa and newly-elected member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Katrina Foley, opened a mass vaccination site at the Orange County Fairgrounds.  The site is administering as many as 10,000 vaccines every day.  That’s what real leadership looks like!

As a medical professional — and a grandmother — I want life to “normalize” as quickly as possible.  But that will only happen if our City’s leaders take definitive action to open a mass vaccination site right now.

What are we waiting for?

Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH