LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Department of Public Health noted in an emailed statement today that “it has built, through a very successful public-private partnership, a robust system that is capable of vaccinating a large number of Los Angeles County residents in a safe, fair and equitable manner.”
The statement notes that the County now has five large-scale vaccination sites that opened yesterday, as well as the city’s large-capacity site at Dodger Stadium, and community vaccination sites, pharmacies, federally qualified health clinics, medical providers and hospitals.
However, given the very limited supply of doses coming into the county, the biggest challenge the county faces is not one of process or capacity, but of supply.
As of last week, from the total of 685,000 received doses, more than 384,000 total doses have been administered to those in Phase 1A such as frontline healthcare workers and some first responders. This total also includes more than 307,000 first doses and more than 87,000 second doses that have been administered.
Additionally, vaccines have been delivered to all 340 skilled nursing facilities in Los Angeles County, and to date, more than 68 percent of all eligible residents received their first dose and 65 percent of staff.
Public Health began this week to administer second doses to those who received their first dose at the end of December.
“While there is great interest in the COVID-19 vaccine, and for good reason, the vaccine supply is still extremely limited, and we want to urge everyone to have patience as we work urgently with our federal and state partners to expand capacity and supply in the weeks ahead. Of the vaccination doses that we received for this upcoming week, 73 percent of our allocation will need to be used for second doses. The little bit that remains, along with any vaccine that wasn’t used the previous week, is what is available for us to use for appointments for those eligible to receive first doses,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.
“We just are not receiving enough vaccine doses to move as quickly as we would like. In the meantime, we must continue to do what we know is right – wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, wash hands, don’t mingle with people outside of your immediate household and sanitize everything. These tools are effective in slowing spread and keep people alive as we continue our vaccination efforts,” she added.
Vaccinating Californians 65 and over could take until June to complete, the state’s epidemiologist said Wednesday, raising new concerns about when other groups will be eligible for the vaccine and underscoring the rapidly dwindling COVID-19 vaccine stockpiles, the Los Angeles Times noted.
Only a very limited number of vaccination appointments are currently available for frontline health care workers and county residents aged 65 years and older.
Residents in this high-priority age group may receive communication from their health care provider with information about COVID-19 vaccinations and how to receive one through their provider.
They can also visit VaccinateLACounty.com to schedule an appointment for vaccination once more appointments become available. For those without access to a computer or the internet, a call center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. to help schedule appointments at 833-540-0473. Individuals are encouraged to use the website whenever possible to sign up for an appointment to avoid long wait times on the phone.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 262 new deaths and 6,492 new cases of confirmed COVID-19. To date, Public Health has identified 1,038,092 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 14,384 deaths.
There are currently 7,253 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and 23% of these people are in the ICU.