The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in California has been scattered and slower than expected as supplies remain scarce and counties expand access and offer the doses at different paces, but more people are getting vaccinated every day and the state is beginning to centralize distribution.
Those seeking to sign up for the vaccine have been plagued by confusion over who’s eligible, technical issues on appointment websites, quickly filled slots, and, for some, long wait times at vaccination sites. At the same time, some others have been able to smoothly sign up and quickly get the needed doses.
For now, vaccine distribution is being administered by the counties, most of which require that appointments be made by registering online. Find out more about the process in Southern California counties below, or by clicking here:
Public health officials throughout the state have said more people would have access to the vaccine more quickly if the federal government boosts supplies of doses, something President Joe Biden has promised to do. The administration said it plans to have enough vaccine to inoculate 300 million Americans by the end of summer.
L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti warned in January that without that boost in supply, it could take until 2022 to vaccinate all of L.A. County.
California is beginning to roll out a statewide registry to sign up for the vaccines through MyTurn, a pilot website that lets Californians sign up to get notified when they’re eligible for the vaccine, and currently only allows San Diego and L.A. county residents make appointments to get their shots. Eventually, it will be expanded statewide.
On Jan. 25, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced somewhat abruptly that the state would move to age-based eligibility after shots are received by health care workers, those over 65, and people working in education, child care, emergency services and food and agriculture. The announcement prompted a bit of a backlash and further confusion.
Weeks later, the state’s secretary of health and human services said it wasn’t clear when the state would shift to age-based eligibility, and that the move would be based on vaccine availability. At the same time, the state announced that, beginning March 15, health care providers “may use their clinical judgement” to give COVID-19 vaccines to California residents aged 16 to 64 with certain health conditions and disabilities.
The state said a third-party administrator would distribute vaccines, identifying Blue Shield of California as having been contracted to manage a state “Vaccine Provider Network.” Kaiser Permanente will also help “sharing expertise and resources” as part of the effort, the state said.
Ten counties, including Riverside County, were chosen to be the first to make the transition to the Blue Shield system this week. L.A. County is expected to join later in March.
Blue Shield plans an algorithm to help determine vaccine allocation priorities, with intent to distribute 3 million shots per week by March 1. That’s when California will begin rolling out the statewide COVID-19 vaccine system, making the same groups eligible for doses in all 58 counties.
In the meantime, vaccine eligibility and sign-up procedures vary by county, and those in the Greater Los Angeles area are detailed below.
KTLA digital staff will seek to keep this post updated as new availability and eligibility information is announced.
Los Angeles County
L.A. County on March 1 opened up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to the following groups of essential workers: education and child-care workers; food and agriculture workers, including grocery store employees; and emergency service workers.
Those 65 and older, health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities were already eligible.
Click here for more on where the essential workers will be able to go to get their shots, and what they need to bring with them.
Those eligible in L.A. County can get an appointment by:
- going to the county’s website here
- or calling 833-540-0473 if not able to sign up online
- or trying the state’s MyTurn pilot site (more information here)
Supplies of the vaccine are limited.
To sign up on the county website, select which eligible group you are in — then you’ll see what you need to bring with you to the appointment. Then, click “Make an appointment to be vaccinated by LAC DPH and partners.”
You can then browse through all the appointment slots at the five large county vaccine distribution sites, L.A. Fire Department sites, community clinics, hospitals and pharmacies. When you find the site you want with availability, click “register.” You’ll be redirected to a page that lets you enter your information.
More on eligibility and distribution is on the county’s website here.
For those in Long Beach, which has its own public health department, appointments can be made here.
If all appointments are full, as they have been, officials were telling residents to sign up here to get a notification when slots are available.
Currently eligible for an appointment in Long Beach are health care workers, those 65 and older, long term care facility residents, emergency response personnel, workers in the food sector like restaurant staff and grocery store staff, as well as those working at schools, child care centers, day camps and homeschooling programs.
Those eligible were told to first check with their employers to see if they’re offering the vaccine. If not, sign up here to be notified when shots are available.
Pasadena also has its own health department and has expanded vaccine access to residents 65 and older — in addition to health care workers and those at long-term care facilities.
Those unable to get their shots from health care providers or local pharmacies can submit this form if they’re 65 and older or this form if they’re health care workers to be notified by the city when appointments become available.
As of Feb. 16, the city website still said the city is waiting for a vaccine supply from the state before it makes appointments available.
Orange County also started vaccinating all residents aged 65 and older, in addition to workers in multiple health-related categories.
The O.C. health agency on Feb. 6 said there were more than 593,000 people registered to get a vaccine — a lot more than available doses of vaccine.
As a result, those who sign up may not immediately get an appointment. They’re in a “waiting room” and will later get appointment confirmation. It could take about two weeks to hear back. Those waiting are being prioritized based on age and time of registration.
Residents can only make an appointment online by clicking here.
On the website, you’ll first answer a few questions, then click the blue “register” button. You’ll be redirected to a page that lets you enter your information.
Those with questions can call 714-834-2000. Here’s a video tutorial on how to use the website.
On Feb. 21, county officials said they’ll be setting aside 30% of its doses for workers in education, child care and food and agriculture, but didn’t announce a date for when people in that group will begin getting their shots.
The county is providing the COVID-19 vaccine at Disneyland, and other clinics and distribution sites throughout the county. Starting Feb. 4, the county’s other “super POD” vaccine site at Soka University in Aliso Viejo will be offering in-car vaccinations for eligible individuals with disabilities that have an appointment and can display the appropriate placards, or license plates, on their vehicle.
However, on Feb. 18, officials announced the Disneyland site would be temporarily closed due to a shortage in supply. Shipments across the U.S. have been delayed due to extreme weather conditions.
Riverside County has expanded vaccine access to essential workers such as educators, dentists, mortuary staff, food and agriculture workers, pharmacy staff and those in emergency services — along with those 65 and older and front-line health care workers.
Residents can sign up for an appointment at a county or city-operated clinic online.
To find appointments, click the orange “first dose appointments” button the website. That will load a list of locations with slots available. If you need a second dose, you can choose the blue “second dose information” option.
The county portal also includes links for scheduling appointments at the Riverside and Palm Springs convention centers, and at the Bob Glass Gym in Perris — which are sites not run by the county itself.
Seniors who need help making an appointment can call 800-510-2020 or 211.
While filling the form to register online, if all appointments are filled by the time a person finishes all the steps, they won’t be able to secure an appointment, officials warn.
Those who got their first shot at a county-run site will be contacted by public health to help set up an appointment for the second dose, but those who got vaccinated at a private provider should contact the same provide regarding their second shot, officials said.
The city of Riverside on Jan. 30 opened its first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Riverside Convention Center parking lot for eligible groups who live and work in the city. To sign up for an appointment, people can visit vaccine.riversideca.gov.
Riverside County has been partnering with Curative and OptumServe to provide vaccines to workers eligible under Phase 1A and Phase 1B, as well as to residents 65 and older.
The two sites operated by Curative — the Palm Springs Convention Center and Riverside Convention Center — are providing first and second dosages while the Bob Glass Gym in Perris, operated by OptumServe, is only administering the first dose.
On March 1, health officials announced that more COVID-19 vaccination sites were opening in Riverside County to better serve the community. The updated clinics take effect this week. They are:
- Three OptumServe vaccine sites will open Wednesday: Norco (1377 Hamner Ave.), Temecula (39716 Winchester Road), and Desert Hot Springs (11711 West Drive).
- The vaccine site at the Lake Elsinore Stadium, which previously operated two days a week, will be expanded to Thursday through Monday. The site will be operated by Curative.
- The Indio Fairgrounds vaccine site will convert from a county-run site to a Curative-run location.
- The Corona High School vaccine site will close Friday, March 5; the staff from the location will be assigned to a new vaccine clinic in Moreno Valley. The location of the Moreno Valley clinic will be announced soon. Those who received their first dose at Corona High School will be notified when and where to receive their second dose.
- The Perris Fairgrounds site, which provided vaccine two days a week, will be converted to a COVID-19 testing site and be opened seven days a week. This change will take effect Tuesday, March 2.
Information on eligibility and vaccine sites is at the county’s website here.
San Bernardino County
San Bernardino County has largely completed vaccinating health care workers and people in long-term care facilities. Vaccination is underway for those 65 and older as well as teachers and school support staff.
First responders and health care workers are also authorized to receive a vaccine, but those are being arranged through their employer.
Visit sbcovid19.com/vaccine/locations to make an appointment. The same link can also be used for appointments at state-operated sites, hospitals and pharmacies.
Those who access the website and find an available slot can click the link next to their desired appointment date. They will then be redirected to a page that lets them fill in their personal information, including health insurance details, and book an appointment.
Residents who need help making an appointment can call 909-387-3911 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays.
There are seven vaccination sites being run by the county public health department, in San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Hesperia, Victorville, Joshua Tree and Lake Arrowhead.
On Feb. 18, the county began sending mobile teams to vaccinate seniors in more remote areas, beginning in Crestline. A mobile clinic was expected to visit Lytle Creek and Lake Arrowhead on Feb. 22 and 23, and the program will later be rolled out in other areas including San Bernardino, Chino Hills, Colton, Lucerne Valley, Twentynine Palms, Rancho Cucamonga, Chino, Hesperia, Montclair, Trona and Needles.
Appointments for mobile vaccinations are coordinated by the county Department of Aging and Adult Services, which is working to alert seniors and sign them up, officials said.
The state is operating two inoculation sites, in Bloomington and Yucaipa. Appointments for those sites can be found at myoptumserve.com/covid19.
Several hospitals and pharmacies are also administering shots. A full list can be found on the county’s vaccination portal.
The county’s first mass inoculation event was Feb. 2 at the Auto Club Speedway. When registration opened the day before, all 3,500 appointments for the event were booked in less than 20 minutes. But the event was beset by traffic congestion and long lines, and some left without getting a vaccine.
As of Feb. 17, just shy of 204,500 county residents had received at least one shot.
San Bernardino County residents aged 65 and older can sign up here to get an email or text notification for updates on vaccination opportunities.
Ventura County is vaccinating residents 65 and older, health care workers, those in long-term care facilities. Vaccines are also to people working in food and agriculture, education, child care, and emergency services.
Those eligible can click here to book an appointment. All appointments at the three county-operated sites were booked as of Feb. 25, but residents could sign up here to be notified when more are available.
Vaccine appointments can be made for those who call 805-477-7161, but the line is intended only for people without access to the internet.
New appointments are typically added weekly on Mondays at 7:30 a.m. online and at 8 a.m. on phone lines. But it’s worth checking for availabilities throughout the week because there could be cancellations.
On the website, you have to scroll to the bottom of the page and select which category you fall under and indicate whether you’re looking to get your first or second dose. Then click “I understand, please continue” to be redirected to a page that lists several different appointment dates.
Click “check appointment availability” next to each date until you find one that lets you proceed to fill in your information and reserve a spot.
Officials said the pace of vaccination is dependent on supply and it’s not yet able to vaccinate other groups of residents.
Where to check for updates on vaccine eligibility:
- Los Angeles County
- Orange County
- Riverside County
- San Bernardino County
- Ventura County