What to know about L.A.’s vaccination process ahead of Dodger Stadium site’s launch Friday

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Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Angelenos Thursday to be patient as the city works to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations, with a massive inoculation site set to open at Dodger Stadium Friday.

Officials aim to vaccinate 12,000 people a day at the location once it is fully operational, which is expected to be by next week, the mayor said. The county is ramping up capacity with several additional sites scheduled to open Tuesday.

With the halt of COVID-19 testing at Dodger Stadium this week, there is concern over access. But the mayor said the city is working to expand testing at other sites.

“Our tests are meeting up with the need,” Garcetti said in a Thursday briefing. “They were reduced from a capacity of a little bit over 40,000 to now about 27,000. But the reality is, every day we had about a 20% drop off rate.”

On Thursday, L.A. County reported nearly 2,000 people died from the virus this week, bringing the total numbers of deaths countywide to more than 13,000.

Can I get a vaccine now?

As of Thursday, health care workers and seniors residing in skilled nursing facilities were the only ones being offered a vaccine in the county.

After the state announced Wednesday that everyone over 65 now qualifies to get a vaccine, L.A. County said that locally, there are not enough doses to do so just yet. About 500,000 front-line health care workers in the county are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 and supplies are scarce, according to public health officials.

“As we’re nearing the end of Phase 1A, we can look to starting vaccinations for groups within the next phase,” L.A. County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday.

The next phase will start with those who are 65 and older.

“Don’t try to cut the line. Don’t try to make a deal. Please be patient and know that the vaccine will come,” the mayor said. “When it is your turn to get vaccinated, get vaccinated.”

In neighboring Orange County, however, residents 65 and older now qualify to sign up for a vaccination appointment through the Othena website.

How will I know when I qualify?

The mayor urged Angelenos to sign up for regular updates from their doctor or health care provider and from the county’s Department of Public Health.

The county’s website lists the tiers describing who gets a vaccine, and an estimate of when that will be.

Next week, the state will launch a new system to let people know if they are eligible to receive a vaccine or to sign up for a notification when they are, the California Department of Public Health said Wednesday.

“They’re going to be able to have us registered throughout the state and then get the announcements when our county changes who is eligible to get a vaccine,” Garcetti said Thursday.

How do I sign up once I qualify?

All those who qualify must have an appointment before heading to a vaccination site. And remember to bring your ID, the mayor said.

Eligible health care workers can now register for an appointment to get the shot on an online sign-up portal, which displayed a message Thursday telling people not to sign up if they’re not health care workers who have contact with patients or infectious materials.

After the state launches its own online system, they will help residents schedule appointments at mass vaccination sites statewide, according to CDPH.

Where will I get vaccinated once I have an appointment?

The vaccinations are taking place at public sites run by the county and cities, such as the ones at Dodger Stadium and Disneyland, as well as by doctors or health care providers, and at pharmacies.

“Those are the three places that vaccinations are and will continue to be given out,” the mayor said.

Are extra doses being thrown out?

In response to questions about extra vaccine doses being thrown out at the end of each day, the mayor said, “There is no directive I’ve ever heard of that it should be thrown away if it’s not going to somebody who’s not in that first tier, and absolutely, you should be getting that in the arm of anybody.”

The county’s Department of Public Health issued a statement Thursday evening clarifying confusion and saying that doses should no be thrown out.

Garcetti said hopefully there will be guidance soon to allow those extra doses to be given out in a way that is not overwhelming, or a “slippery slope.”

“I’ll confess, at a city site where we had a little bit extra one day, we didn’t want to waste that. So, we told the local police station, send over a few people and get it in the arm of police officers because they’re going to be next,” Garcetti said.

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