LA County aims to open COVID-19 vaccinations to residents 65 and older in early February

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The race to offer more coronavirus vaccines in Los Angeles County is off to a slower start as questions remain over when and how many more vaccines will arrive from the federal government.

L.A. County is lagging behind other Southern California counties in opening up vaccinations to people 65 and older, but county health officials say their goal is to begin offering the vaccine to that age group in the beginning of February - an aim they say is dependent on vaccine supply.

Currently, L.A. County is only offering the vaccine to health care workers and skilled nursing facility residents and staff despite the state opening eligibility to residents 65 and older. County officials say they do not have adequate doses locally yet to start opening up vaccinations to residents of that age group.

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Since the coronavirus started spreading across the globe in late 2019, scientists have been looking for a vaccine. Now that vaccines are proven, it will ultimately be up to each state to determine who will get the vaccine, and when?

Health officials say there are roughly 1.3 million people 65 and older in the county, which has a population of 10 million. More information on the county's vaccine distribution is available on its website.

There are reports that states may not receive their anticipated vaccine shipments from the national stockpile next week because the federal reserve of doses has already been used up. Gov. Gavin Newsom says California has already received 3 million doses and more was expected to come from the federal government.

Newsom says California anticipated receiving hundreds of thousands of doses and they're still trying to get answers from the Trump administration and they are working with the incoming Biden administration on getting answers as to when they could be receiving more vaccines.

As L.A. County approaches 1 million COVID-19 cases, the county Friday announced an additional five mass vaccination sites will open. Dodger Stadium opened as a vaccination site Friday.

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Officials are warning about COVID-19 outbreaks at businesses across Los Angeles County, where the virus continues to spread at alarming rates.

The new locations will start vaccinations on Tuesday and will be able to vaccinate 4,000 people a day at each site. The county hopes to complete 500,000 additional vaccinations by the end of the month. The new super sites will be located at:

- Fairplex in Pomona

- The Forum in Inglewood

- Cal State University in Northridge

- L.A. County office of Education in Downey

- Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia

Meanwhile, local leaders, such as L.A. City Council President Nury Martinez, are urging for the creation of a wait list for people 65 and older as well as those who are on the frontlines as essential workers to vaccinate more people faster.
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