1.2 million more L.A. County residents can get COVID-19 vaccines starting today. What to know
A new phase in the effort to vaccinate Los Angeles County begins Monday as more than 1 million people become eligible for shots and hopes grow that more vaccines will become available across California.
A shortage of doses has been a critical issued over the last two months, limiting who can get them.
Here’s what we know:
Where do we stand with vaccinations?
The county is expecting 269,000 doses to be distributed across vaccination sites in L.A. County this week, up from 211,000 doses distributed last week. Of the new 269,000 doses, 103,000 will be set aside for first shots.
California has administered 8.2 million doses of vaccines, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday, with the state averaging about 1.4 million doses each week. Soon, the goal will be to administer 2.7 million doses a week, and eventually 4 million doses a week.
The state received 1.46 million doses last week; this week, 1.58 million doses are expected, and the week after that, 1.63 million doses are coming, Newsom said.
The governor offered an optimistic outlook for the coming weeks, considering how dire the situation in California was two months ago, when the state was ordering thousands of body bags. He also thanked Californians for adhering to rules to wear masks, practice physical distancing and cancel social gatherings.
Teachers and those who work in child care, food and agriculture and emergency services are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in L.A. County.
Who is now eligible in L.A. County?
Teachers and workers in child care, emergency services and food and agriculture will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Los Angeles County starting Monday, though officials warn that the pace will be slowed by limited supplies.
Nearly 1.2 million people fall into these newly approved categories, according to county estimates. They will join about 2.2 million L.A. County residents who are already eligible to be vaccinated — those who work in healthcare, live in long-term care facilities or are 65 or older.
Newly eligible residents will be able to make appointments at city-run vaccination sites starting Monday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, but only a small number of first-dose appointments will be available this week, at Pierce College.
Where are the doses going?
The 70,000 doses of Moderna vaccine the city expects to receive Monday will go primarily to its six mass vaccination sites, which are open Tuesday through Saturday, to be administered as second doses, Garcetti’s office said. Appointments for the second shot were being scheduled automatically for people who received their first dose at a city-run site between Feb. 1 and Feb. 6.
An additional 7,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that are expected Monday will be provided as first doses through the city’s mobile vaccination program, which aims to deliver inoculations directly to the hardest-hit neighborhoods, officials said.
The program is set to triple the number of doses administered this week, from 4,000 to 12,000, through clinics offering first doses in Baldwin Hills, South Park, Highland Park, Panorama City, Westlake and Pacoima and clinics offering second doses in Baldwin Hills, South Park and Vermont Vista, the city said.
The L.A. school district will get the COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the week, with a target of mid-April to reopen some campuses.
Where do other areas stand?
Los Angele County joins other parts of California in expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Long Beach, which has its own health department and receives its own vaccine supply, started vaccinating food workers and educators in January at sector-specific clinics. More than 3,000 restaurant workers, market employees, cooks and other food-industry workers are slated to be vaccinated Friday at a clinic at the Long Beach Convention Center, the city said.
In San Francisco, workers in education, child care and food and agriculture were eligible to receive vaccinations starting last week Friday.
Orange County last week began earmarking doses for workers in education, child care and food and agriculture, saying it would dedicate 30% of its allocation to workers in those sectors, as well as those in emergency services; the remaining 70% goes to residents 65 or older. Seniors and first responders who work in high-risk communities have been eligible to be vaccinated since mid-January.
Blue Shield of California will immediately begin attempting to centralize the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program after a sluggish start.
What is the next eligibility wave?
California says that beginning March 15, people ages 16 to 64 who are disabled or at high risk for morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 will be eligible for vaccinations.
Officials estimate the move will make 4 million to 6 million more people eligible, bringing the total of eligible Californians to 17 million to 19 million, or about half the state.
The underlying conditions stated under the latest guidance include cancer, chronic kidney disease of Stage 4 or above, chronic pulmonary disease, Down syndrome, immunocompromised immune system from solid organ transplant, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies (excluding hypertension), severe obesity and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
The state also broadly defined eligible individuals as those who are likely to develop a life-threatening illness or death from a COVID-19 infection or are limited in their ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their survival.
Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Sonja Sharp contributed to this report.
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