EAST LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A new effort was announced Wednesday to help the state distribute COVID-19 vaccines more quickly and equitably in hard-hit communities.
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“We are here today to mark the first partnership in the nation with the Biden administration,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said while announcing the pilot program.
Newsom stood outside the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, one of two community super vaccination sites in the state. The other location is located at Cal State Los Angeles.
“I am gratified that President [Joe] Biden and Gov. Newsom have decided to locate the vaccination site in this community,” Jose A. Gomez, executive vice president at Cal State L.A., said. “This community has been ravaged by COVID-19.”
It’s a message that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has been amplifying throughout the pandemic, that communities of color, especially Latino communities, have suffered the brunt of the virus’ impacts.
According to the county, the number of Latino residents infected is twice that of white residents, and the number of Latino hospitalized after contracting the virus is three times that of white residents.
“Everyday there’s always a story about a family member that is severely touched by COVID or a lot of family members that will never come back,” Dr. Ilan Shapiro, who works at Alta Med Health in Boyle Heights, said.Only On 2: Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark On Her New Book
The drive-up vaccination clinic will look similar to what the school’s flu clinic looked like in November and is expected to administer at least 6,000 vaccinations per day. There will also be a walk-up option on the campus.
But L.A. County health officials said they have already administered more doses of the vaccine, and at a higher percentage, than any other large county or large city in the U.S. and are planning to add more community and mobile clinics in hard-hit areas on top of reaching out to independent pharmacies to help.
According to Public Health, all skilled nursing facilities in the county have received and administered first doses and were in the process of completing second doses with about 75% of staff and residents having received the vaccine.
“We do need to stay focused on protecting the most vulnerable, with the goal of reducing mortality,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, said.
As of Wednesday, there were five large-scale county-run sites and nearly 300 other vaccination locations.
The state said it was working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure the vaccine doses used at Cal State L.A. would not decrease the available supply for those other sites.MORE NEWS: Orange County Parents Protest Vaccine Mandates At School Board Meeting
The vaccination site is scheduled to open Feb. 16 with registration for appointments becoming available in the coming days.