LA County expands vaccinations to residents 65 years and older

County surpasses 1 million COVID-19 cases

AS Los Angeles County continues to grapple with unprecedented coronavirus cases and deaths, the county this week moved to officially allow residents who are 65 years and older to get vaccinated.

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20, the county will begin to accept vaccination appointments from residents who are 65 years old or over, a move made possible through an executive order signed by County Supervisor Hilda Solis.

“Over the past several weeks, the County of Los Angeles has administered the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers, so that they can stay safe while doing the important work of saving lives and residents and staff in nursing facilities and long-term care facilities,” Solis said in a statement.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has left a lot to be desired, as previously reported in the Asian Journal, and in LA County where the continuing surge continues to overwhelm hospitals, expansion of the vaccine may help quell the spike in cases.

“If we are to ever get out of this dark winter, it is critical that we make headway vaccinating people 65 years of age and older as soon as possible in line with Governor Gavin Newsom’s recommendations,” Solis added.

LA County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said that there were enough vaccine supplies to effectively get through this week’s vaccination appointments. About 50,000 appointments were made on Tuesday, but the county is unsure how many more doses will be available next week. (As of press time, the California COVID-19 vaccination appointment website is experiencing heavy traffic and may be unavailable to people looking to schedule an appointment)

Ferrer said that at the end of last week, the county received 685,000 vaccine doses and by Tuesday, more than 70% have been administered; the county expects to receive an additional 168,000 doses later this week.

“One of the issues that everyone has had around the allocation and distribution from the federal government is it has been week-to-week, which makes it difficult for our sites to do a lot of planning, and it really makes it difficult to extend appointments beyond a few days, which makes it hard on the public,” she said.

Both Ferrer and Solis noted that the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on Wednesday may provide some hope amid the darkness and confusion left by the outgoing Trump administration.

“Tomorrow the new federal administration takes over, and we expect our situation to improve greatly,” Solis said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The vaccine is still limited, but the county has established five large-scale vaccination sites across the region that could accommodate about 4,000 patients per day at each site: Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, The Forum in Inglewood, Cal State Northridge in Northridge, A. County Office of Education in Downey and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.

Residents in this high-priority age group should visit VaccinateLACounty.com to schedule their appointments. Residents who don’t have computer access may call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for assistance with reservations.

The announcement comes at a time when the county has exceeded 1 million cumulative COVID-19 cases. As of Tuesday, there have been 1,031,874 total cases and 14,122 total deaths due to COVID-19.

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