LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More doctors and patients are calling on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to allow private practitioners to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are frustrated that we can’t give the vaccines, knowing the patients’ fragility, their underlying conditions, knowing we can protect them more,” Dr. Mayur Patel, a pulmonary specialist in Burbank, said. “I have refrigerators, I have [thermometers] to make sure the temperature is correct. We have all the devices, we have the training.”READ MORE: 1 Killed, Another Injured In Glassell Park Shooting; Authorities Searching For Suspect
Patel said Public Health approved his practice to administer the vaccine in his office, but has yet to receive any doses.
“I think it’s more that if they give it to the doctors, there are more places to regulate,” he said.
Patel said that while he understands the county’s position, it was patients who suffer in the meantime — particularly those with underlying condition and mobility issues.
“Their family brings them here, and they’re on wheelchairs and walkers and canes,” he said. “They can’t go down [to vaccination sites] easily.”
Deborah Spang is one of Patel’s patients.READ MORE: 3 Pop-Up Vaccination Sites To Open In Northeast San Fernando Valley
“I have back issues,” she said. “I can’t sit in a car for two hours. I know somebody that sat over at Hansen Dam for three, three-and-a-half hours the other day. I trust my doctor. I trust the way he runs his office.”
Dr. David Aizuss, an ophthalmologist and former president of the California Medical Association, said when he reached out to Public Health that he was told they “were not interested in ophthalmology offices.”
“I can give a shot in any eye, but they don’t want me to administer a vaccine,” he said. “Yet, we do administer flu vaccines, and we are fully capable of administering this vaccine.”
In the meantime, both doctors said they were seeing more patients delay important procedures until after they were vaccinated.
“I have patients every week that cancel cataract surgery because they’re afraid to have their surgery until they’re fully vaccinated,” Aizuss said.MORE NEWS: Driver Identified In Bizarre Pursuit Involving BMW Doing Donuts, Hitting Pedestrian
Public Health said that it was working with many partners to get vaccines out to the hardest hit communities, but supply was still an issue. They said they would expand their efforts to private practitioners as soon as they could.