No appointments available at city of LA and county COVID-19 vaccination sites until at least Friday

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With demand for vaccines far exceeding supply and many vaccines being used for second doses this week, community immunization centers in the city and county of Los Angeles are full until at least on weekends.

County-run sites are booked until Friday, but officials hope to add appointments on Saturday and Sunday, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a Monday afternoon briefing.

The five city-run venues, including Dodger Stadium, are full until saturday, and it is not known when other slots will open up.

“Once we know we have more doses, we will open more appointments,” said Andrea Garcia, press secretary to Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Those who register on the county site can receive an alert when new appointments become available, Ferrer said.

The county is running out of appointment slots less than a week after it extended vaccine eligibility to all residents aged 65 and over.

“The only limiting factor right now is that we need more vaccines,” Ferrer said.

Vaccines are also available in certain pharmacies, hospital clinics and health centers approved by the federal government. You can also check appointments at these locations via the county vaccine portal.

Last Thursday, Ferrer said nearly three-quarters of the vaccine doses the county receives this week are needed for the second doses, leaving just 37,900 injections to be given as the first dose.

Ferrer noted that about 2 million people in LA County are currently eligible for a vaccine, including nearly 1.4 million people aged 65 and older, more than 600,000 healthcare workers and 100,000 people. living in nursing homes and other collective establishments. And they each need two doses.

The county received a total of 853,650 doses, and its allocation did not increase as quickly as eligibility expanded. In fact, last week about 168,500 doses arrived in the county – less than the 193,950 it received the week before.

But anyone who receives a first dose at one of the county’s high capacity sites will automatically be scheduled for their second injection. The information can be found on their vaccination record, Ferrer said.

“They don’t have to do anything to get a date,” she said. “We will pre-register all those who come to our sites for their second appointment. “

These sites all use the Pfizer vaccine, so residents don’t have to worry about getting a different vaccine.

“If you’re confused, you can just go to the site on the 21st day after receiving your first vaccine,” Ferrer said. “You will be registered, and you will generally be registered at the same time as your first appointment. “

Ferrer predicts the county is still months away from a point where most residents will be immune.

It is also unclear when there will be enough vaccines to offer them to the next groups, including teachers, first responders and food service workers. On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California to switch to age-based prioritization after these groups have been inoculated.

Ferrer said she hoped the vaccine supply would increase quickly under the Biden administration. Also on Monday, the president indicated that he would increase his goal for coronavirus vaccinations during his first 100 days in office, suggesting that soon an average of 1.5 million Americans could be vaccinated every day.

“This will give us a lot more opportunities in February and March to be able to expand the groups of people eligible to get vaccinated,” Ferrer said. But currently, the county is still focused on people 65 and over.

County Oversight Board Chairman Hilda Solis said she is asking President Joe Biden’s team to prioritize LA County for vaccine distribution and the deployment of federal immunization centers because it it is one of the hardest hit areas in the country.

The county is also working to build a distribution network so that it is “immediately ready to put these doses into the arms of eligible residents,” Ferrer said.

This includes exploring partnerships with school districts, colleges, and child care providers to help immunize their teachers and staff once they are eligible.

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