Vials of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Alameda County on Feb. 18, 2021. (Eli Walsh/Bay City News)

Santa Cruz County extended COVID-19 vaccine eligibility Monday to residents in several occupations now that more than half of the county’s residents age 65 and older have received at least one dose.

Education and childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture workers are all now eligible for the vaccine across the county now that vaccines are widely available to older residents.

The eligible occupations are in line with the California Department of Public Health’s phased vaccination schedule.

Phase 1B includes the named industries and all residents age 65 and older while the previous Phase 1A included health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.

County officials expect it to take several weeks to fully vaccinate the age- and occupation-based groups in Phase 1B due to a dearth of vaccine supply.

“It has taken a truly collaborative effort across the community to reach this point,” Santa Cruz County Health Care Services Agency Director Mimi Hall said, adding that “while we are proud and pleased with efforts so far, they are limited by both vaccine supply and changing vaccine distribution plans from the state of California.”

County public health officials plan to work directly with the now-eligible employers to hold all-workforce vaccination clinics. Employers in the eligible industries can fill out the county’s vaccine interest survey at

Older residents that have not yet received at least one vaccine dose are also encouraged to do so as quickly as possible at a county-run site or through their health care provider.

Mass-vaccination sites have been established at multiple sites around the county, including the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville.

County residents can visit for updates on vaccine eligibility and information on where vaccine appointments are available.