By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles County Tuesday began allowing residents aged 65 and older to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments, advancing an effort that was not expected to start until February.

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said there were adequate vaccine supplies to get through this week’s appointments — about 50,000 at public sites — but said that officials had no idea how many more doses the county would receive next week.

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“One of the issues that everyone has had around the allocation and distribution from the federal government is it has been week-to-week, which makes it difficult for our sites to do a lot of planning, and it really makes it difficult to extend appointments beyond a few days, which makes it hard on the public,” she said.

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Ferrer and County Supervisor Hilda Solis — who signed an executive order Monday directing the county to start vaccinating older residents — both hope that the new Biden administration would improve the vaccination program.

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Also on Tuesday, Ferrer downplayed any perceived internal conflict between Public Health and the Board of Supervisors, saying that the county had made tremendous progress in getting healthcare workers vaccinated and acknowledged the need to vaccinate older residents.

Ferrer said that, as of the end of last week, the county had received 685,000 vaccine doses — more than 70% of which have been administered. The county was expected to receive a total of 168,000 additional doses Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

“It’s always hard when you’re operating in scarcity, but I do appreciate the need for us to be mindful of moving forward as quickly as we can to get those at high risk, and I think that’s what the strategy has allowed us to do,” she said.

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Those who want to schedule an appointment can do so online or by calling 833-540-0473.