LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Teachers and food and agriculture workers will be among an estimated 1.2 million Los Angeles County residents newly-eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday.
Also newly-eligible to get vaccinated are childcare workers, law enforcement personnel and emergency services workers. They will join healthcare workers and those over age 65, who have been receiving the vaccine for several weeks now.
However, health officials said those workers will have to be patient as vaccine supplies remain limited and staff are being trained to ensure only eligible people receive shots.
“Therefore, it will take considerable time to vaccinate these groups, unless vaccine supply significantly increases,” said Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “We urge the public’s patience as we work through this process as quickly as possible.”
About 700,000 L.A. County residents over age 65 are yet to receive their first dose.
The city of L.A. expects to receive about 70,000 doses of Moderna vaccine on Monday, which will primarily serve second doses across its six mass vaccination sites — San Fernando Park, Hansen Dam, Crenshaw Christian Center, Lincoln Park, Pierce College, and Dodger Stadium – when they reopen Tuesday after being closed Sunday and Monday.
“Our vaccination program has weathered many challenges, but we have made it clear that nothing will interfere with our mission to deliver this life saving vaccine to Angelenos as quickly and as safely as possible,” said Mayor Garcetti in a statement Sunday. “Opening eligibility to more groups of essential workers will save more lives and accelerate our recovery. We are encouraged to hear commitments for more vaccines coming from our federal and state partners, and stand ready to scale up our operations so we can end this pandemic.”
All second doses for this week are being automatically scheduled for patients who received their first dose at a city site between Feb. 1 and Feb. 6. Patients will receive notification with appointment details by Sunday evening.
The city’s mobile sites will also triple their total capacity this week, increasing the doses administered to vulnerable communities from 4,000 to 12,000, officials said.
Garcetti’s office also said the city has begun the planning process to integrate the recently FDA-authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine into its inventory in the coming weeks.
On Friday, Simon said L.A. County-run sites expect to receive a total of 269,000 doses this week, up from 211,000 last week. With the county setting aside a majority of those for second-doses, a total of 103,000 first-doses will be available this week for the three sectors of workers and for people aged 65 and over.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has mandated that 10% of all vaccine supply received in the state be immediately set aside for teachers, child care workers and other school staff. But dividing the education allocation among the 80 school districts in Los Angeles County will be a weekly challenge.
To address the issue, the county has devised a complex formula aimed at doling out the vaccine in an equitable manner. Of the doses allocated to the education sector each week, 9% will be automatically directed to private schools in the county, reflecting the percentage of county students they serve.
The 80 individual school districts in the county — excluding those in Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own health departments — will be divided into five groups. Remaining available doses will be divided among those groups based on a formula that evaluates factors of overall student enrollment; the percentage of students living in poverty — based on those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches; COVID case rates in each community; and whether schools have already been providing in-person services for higher-need students.
The formula means the LAUSD — the second-largest school district in the nation — will likely receive about 40% of available education-sector doses each week.
The state has authorized shots beginning March 15 for anyone age 16 and over with an underlying health condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness or death from COVID. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week it’s still unclear whether the county will actually expand eligibility to that group on March 15 due to supply issues.
(1) Persons 65 years and older
(2) Education and childcare
• Public Schools (K-12)
• Independent Schools
• Charter Schools
• Daycare and Early Childhood Education
• Contracted Educational Support Staff
• Junior Colleges
• Colleges & Universities
(3) Emergency services
• Police/law enforcement officers
• National Security
• Corrections officers and workers
• Courts/Legal Counsel & Prosecution
• Campus and school police
• Rehabilitation and Re-entry
• Federal law enforcement agencies
• Police, Fire and Ambulance Dispatchers
• Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures
• DCFS, APS (workers physically responding to abuse and neglect of children, elderly and dependent adults)
(4) Food and agriculture
• Food service workers
• Food manufacturing workers
• Grocery store workers
• Animal agriculture workers including those involved in veterinary health
• Farm workers
• Food and Agriculture-associated port and transportation workers
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)