Los Angeles County residents who are 65 and older will be able to sign up to get a COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles County this week, officials announced.
The decision comes one day after Supervisor Hilda Solis ordered shots be available to the vulnerable age group, and as the county opened five large vaccine sites they hope will reach 20,000 people daily.
Beginning Tuesday afternoon, those residents can get an appointment for a vaccination here. Those without internet access can call a 24/7 call center at 833-540-0473.
The website is updated to show qualified residents can sign up, but warned that supply remains limited.
Later in the evening, officials reported the vaccination website and hotline were “experiencing technical difficulties” as they were fielding thousands of users and calls.
During a news conference at the Pomona Fairplex, one of the county’s super sites, Solis emphasized the impact of coronavirus on older residents, saying 30,000 residents who are 65 and older have been infected and 9,802 have died.
“This is about equity,” she said. “Older adults have been unfairly impacted by the virus, they’ve stayed home for months, isolated, which is, as you know, a problem in and of itself. But the COVID-19 vaccine is here. Hope is here. Our residents will soon be able to return to a life where they can visit their grandchildren, go on walks with friends, volunteer at local soup kitchens, and even come to the L.A. County Fair.”
She urged residents to have patience, as the vaccine is still being offered to healthcare workers as well as residents and staff at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities across the county.
Shots will be administered simultaneously to those who qualify, and to deal with the influx, officials will be opening additional sites across the county, Solis said.
Currently, there are more than 75 pharmacies that have registered to provide vaccinations, and county officials will continue to add more sites as more vaccines are available.
Additionally, vaccine allocations will be going to large healthcare provider organizations like Kaiser Permanente and Providence Health and Services, according to an email from the county. Residents can call their healthcare provider, who may direct them to a preferred location for the vaccine, the email read.
A spokesperson for Providence, however, indicated the agency does not yet have the vaccine available at its hospitals for the general public “and we are being deluged with calls and in-person visits.” The spokesperson said Providence has only been allocated enough vaccine for employees and medical staff.
Following the announcement, the Los Angeles City portal did not appear to be taking appointments for residents 65 and older, but by 4:30 p.m., those in that age group were open to schedule a visit to city-run sites, including Dodger Stadium.
Gov. Gavin Newsom last week opened up vaccinations for California residents 65 and older. And while other cities and counties in Southern California had already expanded the availability of the vaccine, L.A. County was not yet ready to roll them out to older adults.
Newsom thanked L.A. County for its decision to expand the process following news of Solis’ executive order.
The rollout of the vaccine has been slow not only in California, but across the U.S.
Authorities noted that the pace of vaccinations depends on how many doses they get from the federal and state governments.
The county has received 685,000 doses and nearly 350,000 have been administered through last week, officials said.
About 168,000 new doses will be arriving this week to be used at sites.
L.A. County health officials hosted a virtual town hall Tuesday evening to answer questions and respond to concerns from Angelenos regarding the vaccine roll out.