April 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

COVID-19 vaccine shortages hit older L.A. residents hard

Severe limits in the supply of the COVID-19 vaccine will slow how many older residents of Los Angeles County will get the shots in the coming days and weeks, officials said Tuesday.

L.A. County residents ages 65 and older can schedule appointments to receive the vaccine beginning Tuesday afternoon. But this week, only about 50,000 appointments will be available for seniors and for healthcare workers.

Officials stressed that they are opening appointments to seniors out of concern for how dangerous COVID-19 is to them but say it will take time to vaccinate all 1.3 million residents in the age group.

RELATED: When can I get my COVID-19 vaccine?

“We do not have enough of the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, who chairs the county Board of Supervisors. “That includes all those 65 and older, but we will get there. Patience.”

The county has received 685,000 vaccine doses, and more than 70% of those had been administered by the end of last week, according to the Department of Public Health. The county will receive another 168,000 doses this week.

“We’re not yet sure about our allocation for next week, which will need to cover those healthcare workers that need their second doses, as well as everybody who’s ready for their first dose,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Ferrer and Solis both said they’re optimistic that once the Biden administration takes over this week, the county will see the flow of vaccine doses increase.

“It’s always hard when you’re operating in scarcity, but I do appreciate the need for us to be mindful of moving forward as quickly as we can to get those at high risk [vaccinated], and I think that’s what this strategy allows us to do,” Ferrer said.

Almost every hospital worker that wanted to get vaccinated has been, and thousands of healthcare workers in other settings have also received the shots, she said.

“We’re well on our way to completing healthcare workers, but this does allow us to focus on the group that unfortunately has had some of the highest rates of mortality,” Ferrer said.

Los Angeles County opened five large-scale vaccination sites Tuesday morning, with plans to inoculate 20,000 people daily.

The sites are located at the Forum in Inglewood, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Cal State Northridge, the Fairplex in Pomona and the L.A. County Office of Education’s Downey center.

Another site run by the city of Los Angeles is located at Dodger Stadium.

Residents ages 65 and older can sign up for an appointment at the county public health department’s website. Residents who don’t have computer access may call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for assistance with reservations.