By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Long Beach officials opened a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination center Tuesday at the city’s convention center, allowing the city to expand the shots to grocery workers and other food handlers.

Officials also introduced an online system for residents to be notified when it’s their turn to get the vaccine.

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According to Mayor Robert Garcia, the convention center site will be able to vaccinate about 1,500 people a day, but that number will likely increase as more doses become available.

“Beginning today we are bringing in our food workers and supermarket workers,” Garcia said. “And so some of them have already received appointments and others are going to be integrated into now this site.”

Garcia said food workers, including restaurant cooks or people handling food at distribution centers, should first contact their employer because they are coordinating with the city’s health department. He also noted that appointments for the next several days are already full.

The city, which has its own health department, plans to begin vaccinating teachers and staff next week at the Long Beach Unified School District and at Long Beach City College.

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Meanwhile, the city established the VAXLB web portal where residents can make vaccination appointments or register for information about when their turn is coming.

“Let’s say you’re in group C or you’re part of the general public or your not sure when you’re (getting) vaccinated,” he said. “You can also go on today to VAXLB, put your information in and we will notify you when it’s your turn and we will also send you regular updates.

“So that kind of anxiety folks have about `when is my turn,’ we’re transitioning to that system today,” he said. ” … We’ll text you, we’ll call you, we’ll email you. It’s a really great system.”

Garcia has hailed the success of the city’s vaccination efforts, saying it has outpaced other jurisdictions — including Los Angeles County — and moved beyond just health care workers.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)