Large-Scale City-Run COVID-19 Vaccination Sites Expected to Reopen Tuesday


US-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINATION

US-HEALTH-VIRUS-VACCINATION

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - City-run large-scale COVID-19 vaccination sites will remain closed today, but -- with delayed vaccine shipments on the way -- will reopen Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced.

Garcetti made the announcement Sunday. The sites include Dodger Stadium, Crenshaw, Hansen, Lincoln, San Fernando and Pierce College.

Anyone who received a first vaccine dose at a city-run site between Jan. 24 and Jan. 30 will be auto-booked for a second dose appointment this week and receive a text message and email with appointment details from Carbon Health by Tuesday, officials said. Those people were encouraged to check their Carbon account to ensure their contact information was correct.

While the large-scale sites are closed, the city's mobile vaccination efforts continue as planned -- and county officials say their sites have not been affected by weather-related issues across the country that have impacted shipments, and will remain open as scheduled.

The county sites are currently administering only second doses of the two-dose regimen for people who have already received a first shot.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reported 1,465 new cases of COVID-19 and 93 additional deaths Sunday, with officials noting the relatively lower number of cases and deaths may reflect reporting delays over the weekend.

The number of coronavirus cases in county hospitals dropped to 2,369, with 30% of those patients in intensive care, officials said. Hospitalizations have been dropping steadily since peaking at more than 8,000 in early January.

Sunday's numbers bring the county's totals to 1,180,485 infections and 19,885 deaths since the pandemic began.

Gov. Gavin Newsom visited two mobile vaccination sites in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon to highlight the state's efforts to vaccinate hard-to-reach and disproportionately affected communities, as equity issues in the distribution of the shots continues to vex health officials.

Vaccination rates among eligible Black residents lag far behind other ethnic groups, according to data released Friday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Black residents represented just 5.2% of all people who had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of mid-February, while 33.5% were white, 23.1% Latino/a and 19.1% Asian.

Only 24% of Black residents aged 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 42.8% of white residents 65 and up.

During a virtual briefing Friday, Dr. Paul Simon, the county health department's chief science officer, said the county is planning a number of steps to address the inequities, such as prioritizing the establishment of more vaccination sites in areas with the lowest rates, expanding mobile vaccination services to serve older residents and people with limited ability to travel to vaccine sites.

The county is also reserving doses so they can be administered in under-served communities, with 6,000 to 7,000 doses expected to be reserved next week for South Los Angeles and 1,000 to 2,000 in the Antelope Valley, he said.

Health officials have been warning of a difficult month ahead in terms of access to vaccines, with the already jammed appointment system expected to get even more crowded March 1, when essential workers such as teachers, food service workers and law enforcement become eligible for shots. In mid-March, everyone aged 16 and over with a serious underlying health condition will become eligible.

On Saturday, county health officials reported that two additional cases of the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 first discovered in the U.K. have also been detected here, bringing the total to 14 so far in Los Angeles County.

The U.K. variant is known to spread more easily and quickly than other variants. In January 2021, British scientists reported evidence that suggests it might be associated with an increased risk of death compared with other variants, but said more studies were needed to confirm this finding.

“With the U.K. variant circulating in the county, we will likely see more variant cases identified in the county,'' Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We must remain diligent with our safety measures even though we see overall decreases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Let's keep our guard up because we know letting our guard down will lead to more cases and, tragically, more deaths again.''

Photo: Getty Images

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