L.A. County to close its last 4 mass COVID vaccination sites as demand wanes

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With fewer people turning out to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in recent weeks, Los Angeles County is shutting down its four remaining large vaccination sites, including The Forum and Pomona Fairplex, and opening up smaller locations nearby, officials said Thursday.

The first to close will be Cal State Northridge on Monday, June 7. Its operations will be transferred to the Balboa Sports Complex at the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said in a news release.

Those who got a first dose at Cal State Northridge will have their second dose appointment moved to the Balboa Sports Complex. The county is providing free transportation to and from the location, and the service can be accessed by calling 833-540-0473.

Vaccination sites at The Forum, Pomona Fairplex and L.A. County Office of Education in Downey will close after Sunday, June 13.

Starting Tuesday, June 15, they’ll be replaced by smaller sites at Ted Watkins Memorial Park in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South L.A., the Commerce Senior Citizens Center and Norwalk Arts & Sports Complex.

All city- and county-run distribution centers and many other locations are offering vaccines without an appointment. Visit vaccinatelacounty.com for a full list of locations and operating hours.

As public health officials work to reach people hesitant to get a vaccine, they’ve transitioned to sending more mobile inoculation teams into the communities hardest hit by the pandemic. This week, mobile clinics were set up at the Antelope Valley swap meet, Palmdale Metrolink station and Del Amo Metro station in Compton.

“We do want to make it extremely easy to get a vaccine if you live in these communities,” county public health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a briefing Wednesday.

The county and state are also offering incentives to get a shot as they work to push the population toward herd immunity.

Starting Friday in L.A. County, residents who get vaccinated at certain sites will be entered into a sweepstakes to win season tickets for the Dodgers or the Los Angeles Football Club.

The state is putting up to $116.5 million toward vaccine incentives, including $50 gift and prepaid cards being offered to newly vaccinated residents.

There are now about 100,000 people getting vaccinated a week in L.A. County, compared to around 500,000 weekly earlier in the rollout.

With the vaccination rate lagging, officials don’t expect the county to reach herd immunity until late August. That’s the point at which enough people are vaccinated to stop the virus’ uncontrolled spread.

Currently 64% of residents age 16 and older are vaccinated, but public health officials want to push that figure up to at least 80%.

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