LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In an effort to combat the stigma the coronavirus vaccine may hold among minority communities, Los Angeles officials held a special vaccination event in South L.A. Thursday morning.
The event, which was co-sponsored by the Special Needs Network, was held at St. John’s Well Child & Family Center where frontline healthcare workers received public vaccinations.
The event sought to reassure low-income areas which are being hit disproportionately by the virus that the vaccine is safe. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was among those who attended.
In a news release, SNN cited polling which it said shows that the vast majority of African-Americans and Latinos do not trust the coronavirus vaccines.
Black and Latino populations have been infected and hospitalized more from the coronavirus than other ethnic groups, and they have been dying in higher numbers from the disease. Some of that is partly because of underlying health disparities, but it is also because many people in these South L.A. communities are essential workers who cannot stay home.
“We want to start showing people health care workers who have been vaccinated. We want to start talking to people about the safety of the vaccine,” said Jim Mangia with St. John’s. “We want to start urging people and having elected officials support our efforts to get people vaccinated.”
Meanwhile, the city of L.A. is now vaccinating frontline healthcare workers at eight sites:
- Ritchie Valens Recreation Center in Pacoima,
- Balboa Sports Complex in Encino
- Hazard Recreation Center in Boyle Heights
- El Sereno Recreation Center
- Lincoln Park Recreation Center
- San Fernando Park
- Crenshaw Christian Center in South L.A.
- Hansen Dam
The eight sites are capable of vaccinating 2,000 people per day.
The L.A. Times reported that the sites have been met with crowds of non-healthcare workers trying to get the vaccine, and that about 100 people were given vaccines without showing proof that they worked in the healthcare industry.
On Tuesday, officials closed a loophole and now require a photo ID and documentation of working in the healthcare industry before one can receive the vaccine, The Times reported.
“I want to reemphasize this is for healthcare workers…We know that you’re on the front lines, pulling shift after shift after shift, and we want to protect you, so you can protect us,” Garcetti said Tuesday.
There are a total of 18 vaccination sites across L.A. County, and Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday six to eight more could open next week, if the county receives enough doses of the medication.
Eligible health care workers can register for a vaccination appointment at publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/vaccine/hcwsignup.
L.A. County has provided over 100,000 vaccinations in total, many of which have been administered to patients and staff at skilled nursing facilities.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)