LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The first federally-managed COVID-19 vaccination super site in Southern California officially opened Tuesday at California State University, Los Angeles.
The East L.A. site is being co-run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). It will operate seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Appointments must be scheduled in advance through the state’s MyTurn portal. Currently in L.A. County only healthcare workers, nursing home residents and people over age 65 are eligible to receive the vaccine.
“I was on many different sites, registered, never got a call or anything,” Barbara Medd, a Long Beach resident, said of trying to make an appointment. “It’s not set up well at all.”
The site will be able to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day, with the doses coming directly from the federal government. It’s unclear exactly how many doses the site has on hand Tuesday morning. On Monday, there was a soft opening of the site.
Last week, about 220 troops were deployed in from Fort Carson in Colorado to help administer vaccinations at the site.
One of the major goals of the site is to distribute vaccines more quickly and equitably to communities of color who have been hard-hit by the virus. The site will offer vaccines for both drive-thru and walk-up appointments. It will also deploy a mobile clinic that will visit local community centers and schools.
“This is a framework of focus, not just on efficiency, not just speed, but on the issue of equity, that’s what brings us here today,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said when he addressed reporters at the site Tuesday morning. “Not just the spirit not just the platitude of this being a north star, this is what this site all about. It’s proximate to a community that has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”
It is one of two in California that are part of a White House program to establish 100 federally-run vaccination sites nationwide in the first 100 days of President Joe Biden’s administration. The other side is opening at the Oakland Coliseum.
L.A. County has been dealing with a major supply shortage in COVID-19 vaccines. The five super sites run by the city of L.A., including Dodger Stadium, were forced to close over the weekend because they simply ran out of doses.