LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Four additional vaccination sites for health care workers opened Wednesday in the San Fernando Valley and Eastside of Los Angeles, bringing city sites' collective capacity up to about 2,000 vaccinations per day.
The new locations — at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center in Pacoima, the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino, the Hazard Recreation Center in Boyle Heights and the El Sereno Recreation Center — will be able to provide 300 vaccinations per day, Garcetti said.
On December 30, the first vaccination sites opened at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center, San Fernando Park and the Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles, and on Friday, another opened at the Hansen Dam.
Those sites have provided 6,700 vaccinations in the week they've been open, Garcetti said in a site visit with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the sites have been met with crowds of non-healthcare workers trying to get the vaccine, and that about 100 people were given vaccines without showing proof that they worked in the healthcare industry. One woman told a reporter that she was vaccinated after telling workers that she was not a healthcare worker.
On Tuesday, officials closed a loophole and now require a photo ID and documentation of working in the healthcare industry before one can receive the vaccine, The Times reported.
Garcetti did not address the reporting, but he said "I want to reemphasize this is for healthcare workers ... We know that you're on the front lines, pulling shift after shift after shift, and we want to protect you, so you can protect us."
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors Tuesday that she had heard of as many as 150 people showing up at vaccination sites, despite not being eligible to receive the shots.
On Wednesday, she urged people not to sign up for a vaccination appointment if "you're not an eligible frontline health care worker."
"You'll be taking away an appointment from one of our health care heroes, and you're very likely to be turned away at the vaccination site because you won't have the required verification documents," Ferrer said.
She said Wednesday there have been issues with a state registration website causing confusion in the process, but said those issues are being resolved.
There are 18 vaccination sites established across the county, and Ferrer said six to eight more could open next week, if the county receives enough doses of the medication.
Eligible health care workers can register for a vaccination appointment here.
During a tour of the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center site, Jimmy Kim, assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, said that healthcare workers have to be registered to receive their tests, which will be scheduled at a specific time.
Their registrations will be confirmed by the site's workers, and there will be a screening process to make sure there is no reason that the individual should not receive the vaccination, such as allergies. The entire process takes about five to 15 minutes, Kim said.
Los Angeles County has provided over 100,000 vaccinations in total, many of which have been administered to patients and staff at skilled nursing facilities.
"We need more vaccines, and we promise the city of L.A. will get them out as quickly as we receive them," Garcetti said.
The city will be adding more vaccination sites in areas hit hard by the pandemic, like the northeast San Fernando Valley, according to Rodriguez, who represents that area in City Council.
"As we continue to receive these vaccinations, we will continue to expand and deploy more locations to help make sure that everyone is getting their opportunity and access to this vaccine," Rodriguez said. "And we're going to be prioritizing in an equitable fashion, to make sure that those most vulnerable communities are not being left behind, but are being prioritized."