Mass vaccination site opens at Cal State LA

Aerial view of the drive-thru appointment site of the community vaccination center at Cal State LA as vehicles begin to pull up. | Photo by Emilio Flores/Cal State LA

Part of Biden administration’s vaccine goal in first 100 days

A COVID-19 mass vaccination site under the Biden administration’s partnership with the state is now open at California State University, Los Angeles.

The site in East LA opened on Tuesday, February 16 as one of two in the Golden State and the first of 100 planned locations across the country. The vaccination site at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum was also launched simultaneously.

The LA and Oakland sites will be run by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the new administration’s pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans during President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office.

Both sites were chosen to help “expand the rate of vaccinations in California in an efficient, effective, and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind,” Cal OES said in a statement.

“This is what this site is all about,’’ Newsom said during the Cal State LA site opening on Tuesday morning. “It’s proximate to a community that has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. The effort here is to address that issue forthrightly.’’

To date, over 6.2 million doses have been administered in California, with 1.5 million distributed in LA County. Statewide, about 13% of Asian Americans have been inoculated, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.

“We recognize we have more work to do. The issue at the end of the day is supply. We need to manufacture more Moderna vaccine, more Pfizer vaccine,” Newsom said.

Both Cal State LA and Oakland-Alameda Coliseum are expected to administer 6,000 doses a day and will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate drive-thru and walk-up appointments.

They will each have two mobile vaccination clinics that can go into the communities and serve eligible individuals directly.

The opening of the two sites is additive to current vaccinations capacity in the state and does not affect existing allocation of vaccine supplies to other cities or counties.

For those who do not have a car, the Cal State LA site will be accessible through public transportation. Shuttles will operate from the nearby Metrolink station to the vaccination site.

Currently, health care workers, long-term care residents and those over the age of 65 are eligible to be inoculated in California. Newsom previously announced that those working in education, child care, emergency services and food and agriculture would be next.

The state on Friday, February 12 said that people 16 to 64 who are disabled or have underlying conditions — such as cancer or heart failure — putting them at high risk for COVID-19 could receive vaccines by March.

Appointments for the Cal State LA and Oakland Coliseum vaccine sites are available on the state’s MyTurn website (https://myturn.ca.gov) or by calling (833)-422-4255.

On Monday, both the city and county of LA announced that its super sites would focus on administering second doses this week as the area awaits more vaccines.

School reopening

Meanwhile, after nearly a year of virtual learning, elementary schools serving kindergarten to sixth grade were given the green light to reopen for in-person instruction this week as LA County reached the state’s threshold of 25 cases per 100,000. (The county remains in the most restrictive purple tier under the state’s blueprint.)

Schools can reopen if they have a waiver or if they submitted a COVID-19 safety plan. Safety protocols include masking, distancing, fixed group sizes, incorporating COVID-19 testing and immediate reporting of cases to the county Department of Public Health.

Schools offering on-campus learning opportunities must offer 100% distancing learning opportunities as well, Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said on Tuesday.

Seventh to 12th grade schools can reopen once the threshold drops to seven cases per 100,000.

The LA Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school district, has not announced the reopening timeline of its elementary schools, as of this writing.

California on Tuesday announced 5,692 new COVID-19 cases and 64 deaths, bringing the total to 3,412,057 cases and 47,107 since   the start of the pandemic.

LA County reported 1,260 new cases and 120 deaths, bringing the total cases to 1,169,550 infections and 19,215 fatalities. Currently, 2,964 individuals are hospitalized.

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach her at christina@asianjournalinc.com.

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