After receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines in late December, the city of Long Beach has begun vaccinating its first group of individuals, those at the highest risk of contracting the virus.
Residents will be able to receive the vaccine in a distribution process, prioritizing front-line workers and those who are high-risk. It is likely that the general public will be able to receive the vaccine by spring or summer this year.
When will vaccinations become available?
Long Beach State will be receiving shipments of the Moderna vaccine by the end of January, according to President Jane Close Conoley.
Members of the Beach community have already begun receiving emails asking if they would like to pre-register for vaccination.
“This is an important development for our campus. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to pre-register now in order to receive information later on about when and how to receive the vaccine,” said Kimberly Fodran, medical director at Student Health Services.
The university’s vaccination plan accommodates those only affiliated with the university, starting with essential personnel working on campus.
This group is followed by faculty and staff who are 65 and older or high-risk, then any faculty and staff who have not already been vaccinated. Next, any high-risk students will become eligible, followed by on-campus students including residents, athletes and those in face-to-face courses, then students entering clinical rotations.
Lastly, all students who have not already been vaccinated will become eligible, which Conoley predicts will be in April.
For the city of Long Beach, vaccinations are well underway.
“We have already almost vaccinated all of our healthcare workers, clinic workers. Pharmacists, dentists, paramedics, firefighters have almost all been completed, including the nursing homes, 25 nursing and skilled care facilities we have in the city, so they’re, for the most part, done,” Mayor Robert Garcia said on Fox News Friday evening. “We’re able to move on to the next group.”
Garcia said that police officers and those 65 and older began receiving the vaccine on Friday. The next groups in line are food service workers and the education sector, with clinics ipen Jan. 19 and 25 respectively. Workers will be notified to make an appointment through their employers.
The city’s vaccination distribution plan, in line with Los Angeles County Public Health and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, just finished administering doses to individuals part of Phase 1A, moving the city onto Phase 1B, consisting of those 65 and older and grocery workers.
“We have scheduled now clinics to vaccinate the entire Long Beach Unified School District, Cal State Long Beach and Long Beach City College, and those start about a week from now,” Garcia said Friday.
Starting in March, Long Beach residents including 16 to 64-year-olds with underlying medical conditions will be able to become vaccinated. Also in this tier are transportation, logistics, critical manufacturing, industrial, residential and commercial employees.
“I promise you that we will vaccinate every single person in our city who wants a vaccine,” Garcia said. “Health care is a human right.”
Members of the community in congregate settings with risk of coronavirus outbreaks, including incarcerated individuals and those experiencing homelessness, are also part of Phase 1B.
Also eligible in March are members of Phase 1C, including those employed in sectors of water and wastewater, defense, energy, chemical and hazardous materials, communications and IT and financial services. Government operations and community-based essential functions are also able to receive the vaccine in this group.
Anyone in the community not yet vaccinated will be eligible in April as part of Phase 2 of distribution.
Where will the vaccine be available?
Several local landmarks have been converted to mass vaccination sites, including the Long Beach Convention Center, Garcia announced Jan. 12 in his State of the City address.
“I am proud to announce tonight that we are converting the Long Beach Convention Center into a distribution site,” Garcia said. “The first workers who will be vaccinated at this site just next week will be our grocery and food distribution workers.”
Alongside Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Dodger Stadium will be among the several vaccination sites opening its facilities to accommodate the public. In one of the country’s largest sites, the stadium will be vaccinating about 12,000 people per day starting Friday, Jan. 15 at 8 a.m.
After operating as one of the largest testing sites in the U.S., the stadium has been converted to a vaccine-only facility.
Los Angeles County locations including the Pomona Fairplex, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, the Forum in Inglewood, the LA County Office of Education in Downey and California State University, Northridge, will be equipped to offer injections to about 4,000 people daily.
“The reality is we need to get these vaccines out of the freezer, and we need to get them into people’s arms,” Newsom said.
The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim reopened Thursday, Jan. 14 as a vaccination site, the first in Orange County. Health officials deemed Disneyland a “super point-of-dispensing” site where thousands of OC residents will receive the vaccine daily by appointment only.