Public health officials in Southern California are making a big push this week to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations and make the in-demand vaccines more widely available quickly.

To counter the sluggish pace of vaccinations in the region, officials in Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties are in the process of setting up “supersites” or “superpods” — large, well-known venues such as Disneyland and Dodger Stadium — where mass vaccinations can take place, some as early as this week. In addition to the slow vaccine distribution, Southern Californians have also taken to social media to express frustrations about the lack of information about how, when and where to get vaccinated.

Supersites to speed up vaccinations

Riverside County on Tuesday formed an Incident Management Team that will work on creating several supersites that gives them the ability to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to “thousands of people instead of hundreds of people.” Riverside, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are only open to health care workers and patients in long-term care settings. On Tuesday, Orange County’s health officials announced that any county resident 65 and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting this information out, just like getting vaccines into people’s arms, has been a challenge, said Jose Arballo Jr., a spokesman for the Riverside County Department of Public Health. Right now, the only way for people to stay in the loop is to keep an eye on the health department’s website and look for the information, he said. The department is working on taking that communication to community partners such as nonprofits, businesses, homeowners associations and other groups, which have the ability to disseminate information to a wider group of people.

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Arballo said the biggest challenge at first was vaccine hesitancy, but now it’s keeping up with the demand.

“We have hundreds of people on the waiting list,” he said. “We’re working on getting the people who have the right qualifications. We’re looking at nursing students, EMTs and other students we can train, who could then staff these superpods.”

Meeting the overwhelming demand

It would also help if those who are not in the current eligible tiers refrain from taking appointments or walking in to the sites, Arballo said.

“That takes spots and time away from the people who should be getting the vaccines right now, and slows down the process as well,” he said.

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In Los Angeles County, health officials are planning to open five supersites to speed up vaccinations for health care workers. Officials anticipate this expansion will allow them to complete 500,000 additional vaccinations among health care workers by the end of January. Los Angeles County expects to begin vaccinations for people 65 and older by early February and for people 50 and …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

      

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