LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County health officials announced plans to move more vaccination efforts towards mobile vaccination clinics in the community as the county experiences its first major decline in vaccination demand.
Some vaccination sites are reporting a 50% decline in appointments at their sites. Dodger Stadium, one of the largest mass vaccination sites in the nation, will close by the end of May due to the decline.
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“It might be better to do a lot more popups, to set up vaccination booths in shopping centers, near grocery stores, near post offices,” said Ferrer.
Ferrer said another concern is what appears to be the lack of people signing up for second-dose appointments. Some of the cases are attributed to computing errors when people go to different sites for their second doses than their first dose.
“A good percentage of those cases really were not missed appointments. When we got in touch with people, they actually verified that they got both doses,” said Ferrer.
However, there are some people who are skipping their second dose.
“We’ll try to get as many folks in for those second doses again making it really convenient to get those second doses,” said Ferrer.
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The Kedren Community Care Clinic is already using a mobile van to vaccinate community members in South LA neighborhoods and other areas. Dr. Jerry Abraham is leading the effort.
“A pandemic doesn’t end until we’re all vaccinated and safe so while I see the end of the tunnel here in LA, here in this nation, the work is not done,” said Abraham.
Dr. Abraham and his team vaccinated workers at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades Friday, and they have worked with bars, churches and other places of employment too.
“We were also at a jeans factory so we vaccinated their workforce. We’ve been partnering with schools. We’ve been working with churches. We’re also partnering with the county tomorrow at the American Indian and Native Alaskan vaccine event at LA State Historic Park,” he said.
Abraham said the clinic plans to eventually move into other California counties, and also internationally.
“We would love to be part of an initiative where we take vaccines, we take healthcare workers and help end this crisis that’s in India but also on the border,” Abraham said.
Vaccine equity and hesitancy are still concerns. Dr. Joy Ekweume, the Medical Director for Novaxis Healthcare, said there is still vaccine hesitancy in communities of color, though she believes efforts from the community are helping.
“I believe that the minority population that has been a little more hesitant to get the vaccine has started to feel a little more comfortable and I’m seeing the numbers pick up, even though nationwide I believe that we are hitting a plateau,” she said.
Dr. Ekweume said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being pulled also contributed to some more concerns.
“I know it was a little bit of fear when it came to pulling Johnson & Johnson off the market to investigate but honestly I hope that gives people a sense of comfort because that shows you how serious we are about safety. As much as I know that there’s hesitancy and people have the right to ask and make decisions that are best for them, I hope that people also on the other side see how much and how important safety is to the medical community when it comes to vaccines so hopefully that encourages people to get the vaccine knowing we are not afraid to pull it off the shelves,” said Ekweume.
In LA County, 50% of residents have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 30% are fully vaccinated.