After days of confusion, Los Angeles County officials on Monday offered some more clarity on when older people could get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that people 65 and older were eligible for vaccinations. But shortages and the need to still give shots to first responders and medical workers has created a patchwork of different plans. Some regions immediately began making appointments while others — like L.A. County — said they still needed time.
Here is where we stand now:
So what happens this week?
In an executive order late Monday, Hilda Solis, chairwoman of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, directed county health officials to make COVID-19 vaccination appointments available to residents 65 and older beginning Thursday.
But then county officials said they could start signing up today.
They can sign up for an appointment at the county public health department’s website, vaccinatelacounty.com. Residents without computer access can call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. for assistance with reservations.
The City of Los Angeles is also offering the vaccine to anyone in Los Angeles County who is 65 and older, through a different online portal, https://carbonhealth.com/covid-19-vaccines. That website connects patients to sites including Dodger Stadium, San Fernando Recreation Park, Lincoln Park, Hansen Dam and Crenshaw Christian Center.
Despite the state announcing last week that it was opening up vaccinations to older people, Los Angeles County has not received enough doses to expand an already slow vaccine rollout. The county has still been limiting vaccinations to healthcare workers, first responders and residents and staff in skilled nursing facilities.
Five large COVID-19 vaccination sites are slated to open this week in Los Angeles County.
The sites are the Pomona Fairplex, the Forum in Inglewood, Cal State Northridge, the L.A. County Office of Education in Downey and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.
Each site is expected to vaccinate 4,000 people a day. Appointments and proof of employment in the healthcare industry will be required to get the shot, the county said. The five sites are expected to remain open for at least four weeks. They are run separately from the city’s Dodger Stadium vaccine site.
The county plans to vaccinate roughly 4,000 people per day at each site. Although there is enough supply to do so initially, officials say they need more to vaccinate some 500,000 healthcare workers.
The vaccine is also being provided at retail pharmacies.
But are there exceptions within L.A. County?
Yes. Pasadena and Long Beach — which have their own health departments — have expanded COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens who are not living in nursing facilities.
Pasadena on Saturday offered sign-ups to city residents age 75 and older who had filled out a form expressing interest in getting the vaccine. Reservations filled up within two hours for the roughly 800 doses that will be available Tuesday and an additional 1,000 to be administered Thursday at Victory Park.
City officials said they confirmed Saturday that they would receive enough doses this week to finish the remainder of their top-priority medical workers and begin inoculating seniors. Additional help from local hospitals and pharmacies, which have been receiving their own shipments of the vaccine, has relieved some of the pressure.
On Friday, Long Beach announced it had moved on to its next phase of vaccinations, with Mayor Robert Garcia and other critical city employees being inoculated.
Police officers in Long Beach and city residents 65 and older are now also eligible for the vaccine. The city expanded its rollout after vaccinating roughly 15,000 healthcare workers and residents of long-term-care facilities, Garcia said in a news release.
Long Beach will also begin opening vaccine clinics to grocery workers and educators this week.
How about elsewhere in Southern California?
San Diego County on Monday extended eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine to residents 75 and older because of a recent slowdown in vaccination appointments.
Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said the county plans to expand vaccines to people 65 and older next week, contingent on vaccine availability, but a county spokesman said recently there is a supply issue.
There are nearly half a million San Diego County residents who are 65 and older.
People 75 and older are the first group in the first tier of Phase 1B vaccination priorities to be given the green light for vaccinations in San Diego County. Vaccinations are still available to healthcare workers and nursing home residents, who are included in Phase 1A.
Orange County has opened up vaccinations to residents 65 and older and first responders working in high-risk communities, as well as healthcare workers.
Orange County’s platform for scheduling new appointments, Othena.com, was being updated regularly to address technical issues, said Jessica Good, public information manager for the county health department.
More than 256,000 people had registered through the site as of Saturday — an average of 12,000 registrations an hour — and more than 30,000 of them had been vaccinated, she said. Good added that more appointments would become available as the county received more vaccine.
Riverside County has begun to vaccinate those 65 or older and essential workers in certain sectors. But there are reports that appointments have been difficult to obtain.
Ventura County is currently still giving vaccinations to healthcare workers and first responders.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.