The city of Los Angeles-run COVID-19 vaccination sites will be open six days this week as part of a larger effort to expand access in the face of declining local demand for doses.
In addition to the extra day of operation, city officials said they would provide more opportunities for people to get vaccinated without having to make an appointment and open a new clinic with extended night hours.
A wireless emergency alert with vaccine information will also be sent across the city on Monday afternoon, according to Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“Our city and our country stand at a critical juncture in our fight to defeat COVID-19 – and just as we have done in every phase of this crisis, we are approaching the moment with urgent action: by rolling up our sleeves and getting shot at us. the arms of each Angeleno, ”he said in a statement on Sunday.
Los Angeles vaccination sites at Cal State LA, Hansen Dam, San Fernando Park, Lincoln Park, Pierce College, Crenshaw Christian Center, Los Angeles Southwest College, USC, Century City and – for now – Dodger Stadium will operate Monday through Saturday this week.
The city’s eight mobile clinics will keep their usual schedule from Tuesday to Saturday.
Walk-in vaccinations will also be available at all mobile sites as well as sites in Lincoln Park, San Fernando Park, Pierce College, USC, LA Southwest College, Century City and Cal State LA, officials said.
A clinic at the South Park Recreation Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – offering an overnight option for those whose schedules would otherwise make it difficult to get vaccinated.
In total, city officials estimate they will have the capacity to deliver around 260,000 doses this week, the largest amount ever.
“Los Angeles has enough doses to maintain our momentum, protect our communities from new variants and end this pandemic,” Garcetti said. “So we must all do our part to encourage our families, friends, colleagues and neighbors to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
The revamped operations come as the city and county of Los Angeles, like many parts of the country, see demand for vaccines on the decline – a trend officials fear could slow, if not thwart, the quest to reach the level of. collective immunity necessary to finally put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror.
Experts believe that a significant portion of the population, usually set at 80% or more, should be vaccinated to deprive the coronavirus of new people to infect.
About 54% of LA County residents aged 16 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of April 28, according to public health data. But only about 36% of Angelenos in this age group are fully vaccinated – meaning they received either the Johnson & Johnson single-injection vaccine or the required two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
About half of all Californians have received at least one vaccine to date, and 31.7% are fully vaccinated, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, there are signs that the deployment is slowing down. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that appointments for the first dose had declined by about 50% in LA County.
“For the very first time, we have had appointments at many vaccination sites that have not been filled,” she said in a briefing Thursday.
While removing barriers to access and availability of vaccines is a key piece of the puzzle, officials say that an increasingly important part of the strategy moving forward must be convincing those who may be on the fence about getting vaccinated.
According to estimates from the US Department of Health and Human Services, which are based on survey data from the US Census Bureau, it is believed that only about 11% of Californians are reluctant to get the vaccine, a rate lower than that of all but four states.
However, the reluctance to receive the vaccine is not uniform across the state, and having high levels of resistance in particular pockets would still give the coronavirus plenty of opportunities to spread.
To address the concerns of holdouts, health officials regularly point to the high level of protection of COVID-19 vaccines.
Along with this pragmatic push, there is a tantalizing attraction: the prospect of returning to prepandemic normal.
In California, which continues to have one of the lowest coronavirus case rates in the country, many long-imposed restrictions on businesses are relaxed or lifted – allowing residents more freedom to grab a bite to eat, see a movie or even visit Disneyland.
State hospitals, once pushed to their limits, are now caring for fewer coronavirus patients than at almost any other time in the pandemic.
And the number of Californians who have died from COVID-19 has also dropped. LA County reported no new COVID-19-related deaths on Sunday – a figure which, while likely undercounted due to late reporting over the weekend, nonetheless represents the region’s progress in pushing back the pandemic.
Conditions have improved to the point that officials have even set a target date for the full reopening of the state’s economy: June 15.
But this progress, while promising, is not inevitable, officials warn. Staying on the road to recovery will require vaccinating more Californians and, in the meantime, continued adherence to public health protocols that have been put in place to mitigate the transmission of the coronavirus.
“As more LA County residents and workers are vaccinated, the risk of transmission of variants is drastically reduced and we are returning to the many activities we loved doing before the pandemic,” Ferrer said in a statement.