With COVID-19 vaccine supplies still scarce, Los Angeles County residents can only make appointments to get their second doses at the large county-operated sites for the rest of the week, officials said.
Starting Tuesday, only those with proof of getting the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be inoculated at the Pomona Fairplex, the Forum, Six Flags Magic Mountain, County Office of Education in Downey, Cal State University Northridge, Balboa Sports Complex and El Sereno.
“The biggest issue we continue to face in our ability to vaccinate is a scarcity of supply and variability in the amount of vaccine we receive from week to week. This has been an issue across the country and it makes planning very challenging,” said Dr. Paul Simon, L.A. County Department of Public Health chief science officer.
When the county on Friday opened up registration for Monday first dose appointments, they were all booked up within minutes, said Kenichi Haskett of the L.A. County Fire Department.
For the remainder of the week, residents getting their second dose were supposed to make an appointment through a link they receive in an email.
But things got messy when people started sharing the appointment links with others, according to Haskett.
Out of about 100,000 emails sent out, there were about 20,000 “fraudulent” appointments made using those links, Haskett said.
Those who managed to successfully book a first dose appointment using someone else’s link won’t end up receiving a shot when they arrive at the vaccination site, he explained.
“It is important for people to understand that these actions are taking away vaccination access from high-risk people,” Simon said during a Friday news briefing.
For those who received their first dose at one of these sites and are due for the second but didn’t get an email link to sign up, “you may show up at your location on the day of your second dose, as long as you provide proof of your first dose vaccination,” the L.A. County Department of Public Health said.
People who got the Moderna vaccine at a county site will get an appointment for their second dose 28 days later at the same or closest location. Those who got the Pfizer shot will get their second dose appointment 21 days later at the same location.
While those are the recommended intervals, the second dose may actually be given up to 6 weeks after the first dose.
“If you have not yet received an email, please go to the location where you got your first dose at the same time as your first appointment. Remember to bring your white vaccine record card or electronic vaccine record AND a photo ID. Please check your spam folder,” the county vaccine site reads.
Simon said there were over 360 COVID-19 vaccination sites operating in L.A. County, including pharmacies and community clinics and city-operated vaccine sites like Dodger Stadium.
L.A. County has received a little more than 1.2 million doses as of last week, with 82% already in people’s arms.
The county got more than 184,000 doses last week, and a large percentage of those were reserved for second doses. This week, county officials expect more than 218,000 doses, with 55% of them going towards second doses.
While the majority of vaccination sites across the county will be focusing on second doses, residents can still head to the county’s website here to look for available appointments, including at pharmacies like Ralphs and Rite Aid.
Only those 65 and older, health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in L.A. County.
Everything you need to know about getting the second dose in L.A. County can be found here.