BELL, Calif. (KABC) -- It was a day of celebration for many in the Southeast Los Angeles area on Monday. Residents and elected officials gathered for the opening of the first long-term vaccination site that was installed at the community center in the City of Bell.
"I just got my vaccine for COVID-19. I feel happy," said Maria Trujillo, a resident of Bell. "And honestly my health is better now with the vaccine."
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis - who represents a big portion of Southeast LA - teamed up with local officials and the JWCH, also known as the John Wesly Community Health Insitute Inc., to launch the new long-term COVID-19 vaccine site.
"We've been at the forefront of being at the back of the line for P.P.E., at the back of the line for testing," said Assemblymember Christina Garcia who represents part of Southeast LA. "Equity matters in these communities that have been so hard hit."
Trujillo said she suffers from obesity and that receiving the vaccine makes her feel safer.
"The truth is there was a need for a bit of support, right? Of resources. But now that we have the facility - I live here in the city of Bell - to have the vaccine site here is marvelous," said Trujillo.
According to officials, the site will vaccinate about 200 residents on Monday and 1,000 for the week with the Moderna vaccine.
"I waited for it so much, you could say in a lot of desperation. But the good thing is that we got it now," said Hernan Leyva who was vaccinated at the Southeast LA location.
The Office of Supervisor Solis said about 55% of eligible residents in the area have been vaccinated, which is lower than average compared to other communities.
"You know what it means for these communities to receive these vaccinations. We have some of the lowest rates of vaccinations. And it's not because our people don't want to be vaccinated. It's because lack of access or the fact that they have to work," said Solis.
Eligible residents in Southeast LA can make an appointment by calling 323-538-7802 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by emailing email@example.com.
"As a SELA (Southeast LA) resident, I am [comforted] that our community now has the resources to vaccinate those who are eligible and eventually every resident here in Southeast Los Angeles," said Ali Saleh, mayor of the City of Bell. "We will be offering free transportation to every SELA resident to this location here in the City of Bell. That's big, that's huge."
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LA County officials open first long-term vaccination site in hard-hit Southeast LA
Officials installed the vaccine site at the community center in the City of Bell for all Southeast LA eligible residents.