Long Beach opens COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to people aged 16 to 64 with disabilities

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Vehicles drive to a post-vaccine recovery area after at a COVID-19 vaccination site on Feb.22, 2021 in Long Beach. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Vehicles drive to a post-vaccine recovery area after at a COVID-19 vaccination site on Feb.22, 2021 in Long Beach. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Moving faster than the rest of the region, the city of Long Beach on Monday started making COVID-19 vaccines available to residents aged 16 to 64 with disabilities.

The city expanded the vaccine eligibility to the group earlier than March 15, which is when California state officials said providers will begin vaccinating people with developmental or high-risk disabilities.

Long Beach residents with disabilities are being vaccinated without an appointment at the Long Beach Convention Center between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to the city.

“We made the request to the state to start this group early,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted. “We are also working on a home visit program for folks unable to travel.”

Long Beach residents aged 16 to 64, with physical or developmental disabilities, will be required to show documentation like a placard or doctor’s note. They’ll also have to prove that they live in Long Beach by showing a driver’s license or a utility bill.

Long Beach residents with questions on vaccines can email Covid19Vaccine@longbeach.gov or call 562-570-4636.

Gov. Gavin Newsom last month praised Long Beach’s vaccine distribution efforts as a model for the rest of the state.

Long Beach, which has its own public health department, started vaccinating teachers in January — much earlier than when Los Angeles County opened up vaccine eligibility to educators and other essential workers in the rest of the county.

The city is now also vaccinating all residents 65 and older, health care and emergency response personnel, education and child care staff and food and agriculture workers.

California state officials in February announced that vaccine eligibility will expand on March 15 to include pregnant women, as well as people with certain health conditions and disabilities.

According to the state, people with developmental or other high-risk disabilities can get vaccinated if:

  • They’re likely to develop severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection
  • Getting COVID-19 will limit the person’s ability to receive ongoing care or services vital to their well-being and survival
  • Getting adequate and timely COVID-19 care will be particularly challenging as a result of the individual’s disability

When those groups start getting vaccines statewide next week, between 4 to 6 million additional Californians will be eligible to get the vaccine under the categories listed, according to state officials.

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