NORTHRIDGE, CA - JANUARY 14, 2021 - After receiving the vaccine against COVID-19 motorists wait in a staging area for 15 minutes to make sure there are no side effects from the shot on the first day at the large scale COVID-19 vaccine site at California State University Northridge in Northridge on January 19, 2021. Los Angeles County opened four other large-scale vaccine sites Tuesday -- at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the Pomona Fairplex, the L.A. County Office of Education in Downey and The Forum in Inglewood. The sites will eventually have the capability to vaccinate 4,000 people each on a daily basis -- depending on vaccine availability. Los Angeles County began scheduling COVID-19vaccination appointments for residents aged 65 and older today, advancing an effort that wasn't expected to start until February, but limited vaccine supplies and uncertainty about future allocations has left the inoculation effort shrouded in doubt. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said there are adequate vaccine supplies to get through this week's appointments -- about 50,000 of them at the public sites -- but the county has no idea how many more doses it'll be getting next week. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, motorists wait in a staging area for 15 minutes to make sure there are no side effects from the shot on the first day at the large-scale COVID-19 vaccine site at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine to Los Angeles County residents 65 and older has been marked by confusion and frustration.

On Tuesday, older residents began signing up for appointments. But the process had a rocky start, and it will take time to vaccinate everyone in this group.

Here is what we know now:

1. The basics

sign up for an

The city of Los Angeles is also offering the vaccine to anyone in Los Angeles County who is 65 or older, through a different online portal. That website connects patients to sites including Dodger Stadium, San Fernando Recreation Park, Lincoln Park, Hansen Dam and Crenshaw Christian Center.

Orange County residents can sign up using the Othena app. Information for Riverside County residents can be found at the Riverside University Health System, while San Bernardino County residents can find vaccine information on the county’s website.

2. Getting through has been a challenge’s reservation system is linked to the state of California system, which crashed for several hours Tuesday afternoon,” the county said in a tweet Tuesday evening. “Thousands of individuals were nevertheless able to schedule vaccination appointments and at this time there are no more appointment slots available at county sites.”

The county will add more workers at its call center, which was also overwhelmed, and will likely add more vaccine appointment times later this week.

3. There are limited supplies

Officials do not anticipate a significant jump in the amount of COVID-19 vaccines the county receives in its weekly allotment in the near future, said Dr. Seira Kurian, director of the L.A. County Health Department’s Division of Medical Affairs.

Kurian said officials originally thought the federal government had reserves of vaccines that would be delivered to counties to beef up supply when municipalities started administering second doses.

“But because it’s unclear how much, if any, of those reserves are available, what will most likely happen is that we’ll probably not be seeing a huge increase in the number of doses coming into us every week, but we are expecting to still be receiving the vaccine doses at the current rate and at the current levels, at least for the short [term],” Kurian said.

Since December, the county has received 685,000 vaccine doses, and more than 70% of those had been administered by the end of last week, according to the Department of Public Health. The county will receive an additional 168,000 doses this week.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a media briefing Tuesday afternoon that L.A. County could run out of doses by early next week.

4. Patience is still required

There are still some healthcare workers and first responders who need vaccines, and that will slow the speed at which those 65 and older can get their doses.

After that, the state has outlined a schedule of who gets the vaccine next:

Phase 1B

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: education, childcare, emergency services and food and agriculture

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing

  • Congregate settings with outbreak risks, such as incarcerated and homeless people

Phase 1C

  • Individuals 50-64 years old

  • People 16-49 years old who have an underlying health condition or disability that increases their risk of severe COVID-19

  • Those at risk of exposure at work in the following sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations and community-based essential functions

The timing on this group remains unclear.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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