Los Angeles County’s efforts to immunize hard-to-reach populations continue with two new COVID-19 vaccination clinics at transit locations in the Antelope Valley.
The county public health department is partnering with Metrolink to launch clinics at Palmdale and Lancaster Metrolink stations starting Tuesday. Each site will have the capacity to administer up to 250 free vaccine doses per day and will operate from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Appointments are available through RemediaCare but are not mandatory.
For months, LA County struggled to address inequalities in its vaccine delivery, launching mobile clinics and grassroots campaigns to overcome language, transportation, and technology barriers that stood between many residents. vulnerable and their doses.
“There are a lot of underrepresented communities in Los Angeles County, and it has been difficult for them to access vaccinations,” Metrolink spokesman Paul Gonzalez said Tuesday. “If we can bring vaccines to a central part of the community – ie Palmdale and Lancaster stations – then we can provide more connectivity for people who might have difficulty getting to a center. vaccination. “
Lancaster and Palmdale are among the least vaccinated areas in the county. Less than 27% of residents aged 16 and over in Lancaster and less than 29% in Palmdale received at least one dose, according to bi-weekly county data from April 9. These numbers contrast sharply with places like Beverly Hills, Playa Vista and the Pacific Palisades, where more than 50% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Both towns of Antelope Valley have high populations of black and Latino residents, who have been under-represented in vaccination efforts.
The Antelope Valley also has some of the county’s poorest key health indicators, including a higher percentage of residents with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma and obesity, a county report found, many of which can increase the risk of COVID-19.
In a statement, Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said bringing vaccines directly into the community was a critical step to protect residents from the virus and ensure equitable distribution. Palmdale Mayor Steven Hofbauer noted that many residents of Antelope Valley depend on public transit.
“Through this collaborative effort, bringing these life-saving vaccines to the Palmdale Metrolink station has a significant positive impact on public health,” said Hofbauer.
Transit riders across the county have long called for increased access to vaccinations, especially as many area mass vaccination sites like the Forum in Inglewood and Dodger Stadium greet residents with cars.
“Not everyone has a car. Not everyone has a driver’s license, ”Gonzalez said. “For some people, going to a driving center is a barrier – it is a barrier. If we can allow them to get vaccinated without having a car, then we can get more people vaccinated. “
Metrolink chief executive Stephanie Wiggins said in a statement that the agency hopes to identify additional stations for vaccination clinics in the coming weeks.
Metrolink runners may already receive free COVID-19 vaccines at the Cal State Los Angeles mass vaccination site, accessible from the Cal State LA Metrolink station on the San Bernardino line, officials said. Vaccine sites within three miles of Metrolink stations are also listed online on its Vaccine clinic locator tool.
More than a quarter of all LA County residents are now fully vaccinated, according to the Times tracking, and vaccine stocks across the county are expected to increase this week. On Thursday, all California residents aged 16 and over became eligible for the vaccine.
“If we can provide connectivity,” Gonzalez said, “it really helps a lot of the population have access to something that can save their lives.”