INGLEWOOD (CBSLA) — The lines were long Thursday at the Forum in Inglewood, one of five Los Angeles County COVID-19 vaccinations super sites, as residents 65 and over joined the group of people eligible to get the vaccine.
“I called right away and got right on the list,” said vaccine recipient Jerry Tresnan.READ MORE: LA County To Expand Access To Coronavirus Vaccine To More Essential Workers Starting Monday
Another recipient, Sarah Noddings said, “I’m really excited to be here. A little nervous, got to admit that.”
“I’m 66 and I don’t want to have covid basically,” said Bob Korda, who waited in line.
But projections from the state’s top health officials are bringing new urgency as L.A. County seniors, especially those who are high risk, scramble to get vaccinated.
During a state vaccine advisory committee meeting, Dr. Erica Pan said it could take four to five months to complete vaccinations for those 65 and older with the current allocations from the federal government.
“We don’t know when the supply will be increasing,” Pan said. “In a huge state of 40 million people, we’re only getting 400,000 to 500,000 doses a week. So it’s gonna take us, we’re estimating, anywhere from 20 to 22 weeks to get through just (those) 65 years of age and older.”
Keck Medicine of USC health officials said the low vaccine supply is the main concern at their distribution sites.
“Unfortunately to this date, it’s been a week by week process, so it’s been hard to do long-range planning without knowing exactly how much vaccine you’re going to have, which will dictate how many scheduled appointments you can open up,” said Felipe Osorno with Keck Medicine of USC Continuum of Care Operations.READ MORE: Meet The Giltinis: LA's New Rugby Team to Open Play At Coliseum March 20
Health authorities say vaccinating seniors is critical because they are disproportionately impacted by the virus. They say seniors account for 65% of all ICU admissions and 83% of all deaths.
“I think it’s very imperative and I feel very guilty that I left my 61-year-old wife at home,” Korda said.
Noddings said, “I just turned 77, like everyone else, I have some serious concerns about this disease.”
Another vaccine recipient, Thanh Pho, said, “I’m exactly 75 and it’s very important for me to have the vaccine.”
Local and state health officials are hoping the vaccination rate will move faster in the coming weeks under the Biden administration by adding to the manufacturing capacity of existing vaccines and with the approval of new ones.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday evening that at L.A.’s current vaccination pace, all healthcare workers and seniors will not be vaccinated until June, but he says the pace will not stay at this rate.
“We know we will have more vaccines, so we won’t stay at this pace,” he said.
Meanwhile Thursday, L.A. County reported 262 additional deaths and 8,512 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, noting that cases and hospitalizations are down.
Last week, the seven-day average of new cases was 15,182. This week, the seven-day average of cases is 10,560, a decrease of 30 percent.MORE NEWS: High Winds Expected To Continue Through Sunday For Parts Of SoCal
Hospitalizations have also decreased this week, down 7 percent since last week Thursday.