COVID-19 vaccination site opens at Union Station as state hurtles toward reopening

A woman in a mask stands at a ticket-type window near a sign  that says "Free COVID-19 vaccines."
A woman visits a new COVID-19 vaccination site that opened Tuesday morning at Union Station. Amid a national effort, L.A. is trying to increase vaccination rates.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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A COVID-19 vaccination site opened Tuesday at downtown Los Angeles’ Union Station as the effort to get shots into more residents’ arms ramped up ahead of the state’s planned reopening next week.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti highlighted the convenience of the site at a news conference, noting that the transportation hub is widely used by commuters. Before the pandemic, roughly 110,000 people traveled through the station every day, he said.

“Now, Union Station will be a place that can help us recover from this most traumatic year of our lives — to be much more than a place to head to a platform and to board a train, but a place where you can protect yourself, your life, your family, loved ones and friends,” Garcetti said Tuesday.


Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins said the station’s strategic location also enabled it to distribute vaccines to underserved communities, including people of color, older adults and those without access to a car.

“We want everyone in L.A. County who is eligible to have convenient access to COVID-19 vaccinations to ensure an equitable recovery,” said Wiggins, who recently took over as the agency’s CEO. “We cannot overstate the importance of equity in all we do, whether it’s providing essential transit services or access to vaccinations.”

Located at the East Portal of the station, the clinic will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Los Angeles Fire Department, in partnership with the nonprofit CORE, will operate the site. No appointment is necessary, and vaccinations are free.

The site is one of five walk-up vaccination centers offered throughout the Metro system, with other locations in Hawthorne, Gardena, Rancho Dominguez and El Monte, said Garcetti, who chairs Metro’s board of directors.

Beginning Tuesday and running through Saturday, new vaccination locations are opening at Metrolink stations in Fontana, Montclair and Upland in San Bernardino County, with additional sites launching the following week, said Larry McCallon, vice chair of the Metrolink board.

Here are five things to expect as L.A. County fully reopens after COVID-19 restrictions.

June 7, 2021

Union Station and the other sites are ramping up operations amid a push to increase inoculations across California ahead of June 15, the date Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reopen most sectors of the economy and remove many coronavirus-related restrictions.


This week, Los Angeles County is dispatching 237 mobile vaccination sites — the largest operating in a single week, according to L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis.

“We’re directing a lot of resources toward mobile vaccination sites out of a real sense of urgency to get as many residents vaccinated as we can before June 15 and beyond,” Davis said at a recent briefing.

The city of L.A. has administered 1.3 million vaccines, with 70% “going to people of color, who have been the hardest hit,” Garcetti said. At the county level, the number of vaccinations given out has reached 9.5 million, with about 64% of adults having received at least one dose.

Garcetti said L.A. was joining a national effort of administering one dose to 70% of all adults by July 4. President Biden declared June a national month of action to work toward the goal.

California as a whole has one of the lowest coronavirus transmission rates in the country, tying with Nebraska for the third-lowest case rate level as of Monday, trailing only the less-dense states of Vermont and South Dakota.