LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Residents age 16 and over will be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 starting today at sites operated by the city of Los Angeles, but county-run sites will wait until Thursday, when the state officially lowers the eligibility age for the shots.
“Opening vaccine eligibility to all Angelenos who are 16 and older is a major milestone in our efforts to get more shots into more arms and defeat COVID-19 once and for all,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday in announcing the change at city-run sites.
“We urge patience as we continue to ramp up our operations, obtain more doses, and enter this new phase of our campaign to end the pandemic. But our commitment remains clear: as soon as vaccines are available, we are ready to administer them swiftly and safely.''
Appointments for the vaccines at city sites can be made athttps://carbonhealth.com/covid-19-vaccines/los-angeles. Although the sites are operated by the city, they are open to any Los Angeles County resident.
Those city sites now include the vaccination center at Cal State Los Angeles, which until Sunday was being operated by a partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. That federal partnership, which was an eight-week pilot program, ended Sunday, and the city agreed to take over operation of the site to ensure continued access to vaccines in the area.
In addition to CSULA, the city also operates sites at San Fernando Park, Hansen Dam, Crenshaw Christian Center, Lincoln Park, Pierce College, USC University Park, Los Angeles Southwest College and Dodger Stadium.
All sites will be open Tuesday through Saturday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Dodger Stadium will only be offering appointments until 1 p.m. this week from Tuesday through Thursday to accommodate home games, although the site will remain open until 4 p.m.
For sites operated by Los Angeles County, shots are still being offered to people aged 50 and older, along with the previously eligible groups of select workers or people with underlying health conditions. The county sites will expand to all people aged 16 and up on Thursday, the day the state officially expands its eligibility to that age group.
Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said people aged 16 and over can start making appointments at county sites on Wednesday through the state's MyTurn.ca.gov scheduling website. She noted that people aged 16 and 17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine, because it is the only one approved for people that young, so teens will have to make appointments at sites that offer that specific shot.
The county this week received an allocation of 323,470 doses of vaccine, a drop of roughly 80,000 from last week, due to a major reduction in supply of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. Health officialsanticipate supplies of that vaccine to being increasing again in the coming weeks.
The county's allocation is supplemented by tens of thousands of doses that are sent directly by the federal government and the state to select providers, such as large health care centers and pharmacies.
Ferrer said that there are more than 700 sites across the county this week offering vaccinations, the most to date.
While urging everyone who is eligible to make an appointment and get vaccinated, Ferrer pointed specifically to a sharp disparity between men and women in seeking out the shots. While men have a far higher death rate from COVID-19 than women, only 30% of men in the county have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to nearly 44% of women, Ferrer said.
The problem is worse among Black men, with only 19% receiving at least one dose so far, and only 17% of Latino men.
Ferrer called the statistics “staggering,'' given the higher risk of death men have had from COVID throughout the pandemic.
“What's staggering to realize is that the very group of folks who have the higher mortality rate are now also the group of folks that have the lower vaccination rates, and that's what's troubling,'' Ferrer said. “That's where we need to focus a lot of additional work so we flip that around.''
The county reported an additional three COVID-19 deaths on Monday, bringing the cumulative county death toll during the pandemic to 23,479.
Another 411 cases were also reported by the county, while Long Beach health officials added 17 and Pasadena reported 11, pushing the overall pandemic total in the county to 1,226,219. The numbers of new cases and deaths are typically low on Mondays due to reporting lags from the weekend.
Ferrer noted, however, that the county's average daily number of newly reported cases has dropped to about 400, which is lower than it was one year ago in the early stages of the pandemic.
According to state figures, there were 471 people hospitalized due to COVID in Los Angeles County as of Monday, with 116 people in intensive care.
Photo: Getty Images
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.