UPDATED on Friday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that, for the second day in a row, delays in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines will force the city to keep its vaccination sites closed. People who had Saturday appointments will be automatically rescheduled and they’ll be notified by text, email or phone. The city’s mobile vaccination clinics are not being impacted.
VACCINE UPDATE: Severe weather continues to delay vaccine delivery to L.A., forcing us to also postpone Saturday appointments at City-run sites.
Mobile vaccination clinics are not impacted.
Appointments that were scheduled will automatically be rescheduled with a new date/time.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) February 19, 2021
Meanwhile, neighboring Orange County announced on Thursday that its mass vaccination site at Disneyland would be closed temporarily due to the same delivery delays. Those issues will also cause the opening of a new vaccination site at the Anaheim Convention Center next week to be pushed back.
Similar stories were reported across the state.
San Diego’s vaccination superstation near Petco Park will close Friday and Saturday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Fresno Bee reported that at least 40% of the Covid vaccine doses that the county expected to receive this week have been delayed. In Sacramento, health officials were considering canceling appointments as well due to the delayed deliveries. That, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Those closures may impact at least two of the vaccine super sites inaugurated by Governor Gavin Newsom in the past week. But at a Friday news conference, Newsom did not seem concerned. He trumpeted the fact that the state had delivered a record number of 264,000 doses on Thursday. He announced that 75,000 doses of the state’s weekly allotment would be set aside for teachers. He said all of that was made possible by the Biden Administration, which promised to give states a three-week window into their coming allotments for planning purposes. “We Can do more because now we have more visibility,” the governor asserted.” He did not seem concerned by the current delivery delays.
Newsom revealed that the snow back east had impacted 702,000 doses and saying it was, “primarily an issue with Moderna vaccines due to weather.”
He continued, “There is going to be some adjustment. There is going to be some impact.”
He then announced that he anticipated 1.4 million doses next week and 1.5 million the week thereafter. President Biden has promised that local officials will have a clear idea of doses coming three weeks out. But LA County health officials were much less clear about what the coming weeks held.
Asked about local visibility on coming shipments, LA County’s Chief Science Officer Dr. Paul Simon told Deadline on Friday, “That’s really been a challenge for us. We really have only a one-week horizon.”
So while the state seems to know the numbers it should expect, counties and cities do not — it’s the state that divides up the federal allotments it gets.
“They [the state] may not know where the doses are going to go yet,” said Simon. If that is the case, then what’s the point of Biden’s promise? Most vaccine doses in California are administered under the direction of city and county officials. If they don’t have the promised three-week window on vaccine supplies, Biden’s promise doesn’t make much difference on the ground.
PREVIOUSLY on Thursday Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that the majority of the Friday Covid-19 vaccination appointments at city sites will be postponed due to vaccine delivery delays caused by severe winter storms across the country. It’s the second Friday in a row that the city’s sites have been hampered by lack of supply.
Three weeks ago, the city was averaging about 13,000 doses administered per day.
Approximately 12,500 patients will soon receive a notice by text, e-mail, or phone that their Friday appointment is postponed. Once the City confirms the arrival of a new shipment of doses in the days ahead, all patients who missed their appointment will be prioritized and receive a notification with details for their new automatically rescheduled appointment.
The city had expected to receive 58,000 doses this week, which was already down considerably from 90,000 two weeks before.
Garcetti also announced on Thursday that another 37,000 doses scheduled for next week have been delayed as well.
The county has the capacity for 500,000 appointment slots this week, according to an official statement. However there are only enough doses to distribute less than half that; a little over 211,000 appointments.
Deadline reported yesterday that county officials have revealed they are not getting a promised federal projection on how much vaccine is coming in the next three weeks. That was a promise made by President Joe Biden on his second day in office.
In fact, as of Wednesday the county’s top health official didn’t even have visibility on how many doses are coming next week.
“I don’t have any projections for what we’re getting [in the] next 2-3 weeks out,” said Los Angeles County Public Health director Barbara Ferrer in a call with reporters Wednesday. Not only that, Ferrer revealed that “We’ve been delayed in getting our numbers for next week.”
Since that high of 90,000 doses two weeks ago, the city and county of Los Angeles have been plagued by shortages. Each has prioritized second doses due to fears that newly vaccinated residents might not get a second dose in time. Garcetti even had to shut down the city’s largest testing site at Dodger Stadium for two days last weekend.
“Severe weather across the country has disrupted travel and shipping nationwide, including delaying the delivery of our vaccines,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our City is ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines swiftly, safely, and equitably — and as soon as doses arrive in Los Angeles, we will get them into people’s arms immediately.”
“We are collaborating closely with the City of Los Angeles to ensure the vaccination distribution process is as smooth as possible,” said, Dr. Sujal Mandavia, Chief Medical Officer of Carbon Health. “Second dose appointments will be prioritized, and it is our intent to administer those second doses within the CDC-recommended timeframe of 42 days after the first dose.”
Harsh weather conditions nationwide have held up two separate shipments: 26,000 doses, previously set to arrive on Tuesday, are currently in Kentucky; another 37,000, intended for next week’s appointments, are in Tennessee. Grounded flights and icy roads have prevented delivery of these and other vaccine shipments across the country.
Thursday’s announcement only affects the City of Los Angeles’ large scale vaccination sites. Vaccinations from the City’s mobile clinics will continue as planned. The Mayor and his team will continue to monitor the situation, and officials will determine the status of Saturday’s vaccination appointments as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday said the state expects 3 million doses per week by March 1 and 4 million per week by April 30. That reality seems very, very far away.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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