LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles' mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium will end operations by the end of May while the city shifts more doses to appointment-free, walk-up centers and mobile clinics, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today.
The announcement comes as demand for coronavirus vaccines is diminishing around the region -- a trend that County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday described as “very worrisome.''
Ferrer said the number of people getting their first vaccination at county sites had dropped significantly over the past week. Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell told the Los Angeles Times that the city has also seen a significant drop in appointment slots at city-run clinics.
“Access and equity remain our North Stars in the campaign to protect public health and get every Angeleno vaccinated -- and the Dodgers have been extraordinary partners in helping us save lives,'' Garcetti said in announcing the shutdown.
“Dodger Stadium set the standard for sports franchises and community institutions playing a starring role in our COVID-19 response for the country. As we enter the next phase in our vaccination program ... our city is prepared to bring doses to Angelenos and move us closer to the end of this pandemic.''
The Dodger Stadium site -- one of the largest mass vaccination centers in the country -- has been the location of 1,038,899 COVID-19 tests and more than 420,000 vaccine doses, the mayor's office said.
Garcetti's office said the transition from mass vaccination sites to more community-based options is the next step in vaccine programs nationwide.
As of Friday, nearly 50% of eligible Los Angeles County residents have received at least one dose, and 30% are fully vaccinated, the city said.
Meanwhile, officials are turning their focus to reaching residents who might remain undecided and unvaccinated for a wide range of reasons, including issues of accessibility, convenience, or hesitation.
Garcetti's office said the number of vaccination appointments offered by the city will not change. Instead, the supply of doses will be scaled up at locations spread out across Los Angeles such as USC and through Mobile Outreach for Vaccine Equity, or MOVE, clinics.
In an initial step in the transition, beginning Friday and Saturday, the city will offer no-appointment vaccinations at Pierce College and Lincoln Park.
Next week, USC, Cal State LA, Southwest College and San Fernando Park will begin accepting vaccination walk-ins without an appointment, as will all 10 mobile vaccination clinics, Garcetti's office said.
The city will also pilot an evening clinic at a mobile site in South L.A., operating from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., to give residents the ability to get their doses after work and after regular business hours.
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