LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Three Los Angeles testing sites today began administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers, and a fourth is scheduled to open on Friday.
The expanded testing sites are located at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center, San Fernando Park and the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles.
“Across three different sites in the city of Los Angeles starting today, we're going to be administering about 300 doses to our healthcare workers, especially in those hard hit neighborhoods where we see community spread,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
A fourth vaccination site will be opened for healthcare workers at the Hansen Dam on Friday, according to Garcetti.
The sites were chosen in areas most affected by the pandemic.
“We know the northeast San Fernando Valley has been among the hardest hit, so has South Los Angeles, and so here too on the east side,'' Garcetti said.
While the vaccine is not yet publicly available, he reminded Angelenos to stay inside, get groceries delivered when possible, limit trips to the store and continue wearing masks, even indoors if someone they live with has been exposed to the virus.
Garcetti especially urged people not to go out or gather for the New Year's holiday, adding, “We know that those actions will kill people.''
“There is no, no reason that anybody should be out and celebrating New Year's. We need to be safe and give the gift of 2021, of people still being alive,'' he said.
The testing sites, which are a partnership between the city, county, the nonprofit CORE, Curative and the Los Angeles Fire Department, have conducted 3.2 million COVID-19 tests since launching the sites in March, according to actor Sean Penn, who co-founded CORE. The city has the capacity to test 46,000 people per day.
“We are continuing to work with the mayor's office and L.A. County Public Health to support efforts for a wider rollout of the vaccine and in hopes to bring it to scale as we were able to do collaboratively with testing,'' Penn said.
Penn also said his organization is focused on providing education, information and resources to communities most at risk of the virus. He said testing would remain an important priority for CORE while the vaccine is not publicly available.
The sites were expanded to provide flu shots to the public. Garcetti thanked Dean Vassilios Papadopoulos of the USC School of Pharmacy, which partnered with the city to provide 15,000 free flu shots.
The flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine have to be spaced 14 days apart, according to USC's Dr. Carla Blieden, who has been “instrumental'' in the city's flu vaccination program, Garcetti said.
“Now would be a great time to get your flu shot, so that you're ready to get the COVID vaccine when it's your turn,'' Blieden said.
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