Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), 49, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week, even though he doesn’t appear to qualify for it through his job as mayor.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, residents qualified to receive COVID-19 vaccines include health care workers, staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities, staff and residents at long-term care facilities, and residents over the age of 65.
In a statement to Deadline, however, Garcetti’s office said he received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because of the time he’s spent volunteering with frontline workers (5 days at the time he received it).
“Mayor Garcetti has spent many days, as he is today, at Dodger Stadium, assisting on the frontline of the vaccination effort, directly interacting with hundreds of Angelenos each day,” said Garcetti spokesperson Alex Comisar. “The medical personnel strongly recommended that he receive the vaccine as they have recommended and provided for other field staff and volunteers at the site who have close contact with clients.”
According to the public health department, the next group of people slated to receive vaccines includes education and childcare workers, emergency service workers, and food and agriculture workers. The county estimates that this next tier of residents could begin receiving vaccines in February, but notes that the current timeline is still tentative.
The Los Angeles Times reports that it could take months before residents who currently qualify to receive vaccines can get their shots. Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has acknowledged the COVID-19 vaccine supply problems affecting Los Angeles County. That said, The New York Times reports that Los Angeles has managed to administer 83% of the COVID-19 vaccine doses they have been provided with. California, on the other hand, has used 52.2% of the doses they have been provided with, according to a Bloomberg News data tracker.
Many seniors in Los Angeles County have also been having difficulty scheduling vaccine appointments, which can be scarce, or are facing logistical hurdles when they do get them. For example, the mass vaccination sites run by L.A. County are drive-through only, and some seniors have had trouble getting access to bathrooms while they wait, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The state of California soon plans to outsource vaccine distribution to Blue Shield of California and receive help from Kaiser Permanente in an effort to speed up the rate at which California residents receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“Blue Shield of California is honored to be invited by the governor to play an important role in helping to save lives and overcome this pandemic,” a Blue Shield spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. “We are finalizing the details with the state on our role and look forward to working with healthcare professions to beat COVID-19.”
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