Super Sites. Distribution. Vaccine Chasers. Eligibility and Appointments. These are the top 5 things you need to know about vaccine distribution if you live in LA County.
- Super Sites
Los Angeles County has 5 vaccination supersites, which, together, have the capacity to vaccinate around 20,000 people a day. These sites are located at the Forum in Inglewood, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California State University Northridge, the Fairplex in Pomona and the Los Angeles County Office of Education Downey Education Center. The City of LA has its own supersite separate from the county at Dodger Stadium. These sites operate virtually the same.
All of these “super sites” require an appointment, so you can’t just drive up. And, speaking about driving, you need to have a car to get a vaccine at these locations. If you don’t have a car, no worries, you can get your vaccines at participating clinics and pharmacies.
- Vaccine Distribution
Let’s talk about how many vaccines we’re dealing with here. Bloomberg reports that California, which has a population of 39 million, received roughly 4.9 million vaccines, but, so far, around 50 percent of them have been successfully distributed. Long story short, it’s going to take a while.
If you’re curious, LA County, which has a population around 10 million people, received over 490,000 vaccines.
These numbers include both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Oh, and don’t forget: When you get your vaccine, you need to go back to the same site. But that’s an ambiguous recommendation by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Right now, we’re in a 3-part tier system, 1A, 1B, and 1C. This system prioritizes individuals who need vaccine access in LA County. Tier 1A are essential healthcare workers. Now we’re in tier 1B, which includes all healthcare professionals and residents over the age of 65.
If you’re curious about when you will be able to sign up for an appointment, you can use this website to determine when it is your turn.
But if you’re in tier 1B, you do need a couple of things for your appointment.
You don’t need insurance or proof of immigration status, which will remain true for the length of the vaccination period.
If you are a healthcare professional, you will need a photo work ID.
If you are 65 years or older, you will need some form of ID that has your name and date of birth. An AARP membership or a state Identification card will do.
And, this applies to everyone: if you’re not a current resident of LA County, the operators at the LA County vaccine sites will not vaccinate you.
- Vaccine Chasers and Why They Exist
Over the Weekend, the Los Angeles Times broke a story on Vaccine Chasers: lines of well-privileged people standing outside of a South LA Clinic—who are not from South LA. Why? Because they’re hoping to snag an unused vaccine before it’s their turn. These “standby” lines are not operated by the city, nor do these people have appointments.
So why are clinics giving the vaccines away? Shouldn’t they just put them back in storage? Well I did a little research about it.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have to be stored at freezing temperatures when transported to keep them viable. When an operator is ready to use a vaccine, they thaw it out, and it has to be refrigerated until it is ready to be used. This is where things get tricky.
Pfizer Vaccines can only be refrigerated for 5 days and Moderna 30 days before the provider has to discard them. And thawed vaccines can’t be frozen again.
Now, here’s the kicker. Moderna reports their vaccines are only good for 12 hours at room temperature. And the CDC reports that the Pfizer Vaccine shouldn’t sit at room temperature for 6 hours.
I’m assuming, these vaccines have to sit out a room temperature for easy distribution. Vaccines can easily be wasted if they sit out too long. If you can’t make your appointment. Let someone know.
- What You Need to Know About Appointments
Speaking of missed appointments, appointments are critical to you getting vaccines.
You can make an appointment for a Los Angeles City location through Carbon Health, a private entity that is coordinating appointments with a few local health care clinics.
To sign up for an appointment within any location in LA County, visit VaccinateLACounty.com or call 833-540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. This part of the LA County Website has a list of all available appointments for supersites, clinics, and pharmacies.
And once you get your first dose at an LA County supersite, you’ll get a followup email when it’s time to get your second dose. But if you got it anywhere else in the county, you will need to follow up for your second shot. There’s no word on how LA City is following up with Dodger Stadium yet.
I hope this helped bring light to anyone who was bombarded with the wave of information around vaccines. If you got any helpful tips, leave them down below in the comments.