COVID-19 vaccine supply 'extremely limited' in LA County, health officials say

"The end is not yet in sight," L.A. County's top public health official warned amid high demand for the coronavirus vaccine.

Thursday, January 21, 2021
In LA County, COVID-19 vaccine supply 'extremely limited'
As L.A. County makes coronavirus vaccinations available to residents 65-year-old and older, public health officials say doses are in "extremely limited supply."

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As Los Angeles County makes coronavirus vaccinations available to residents 65-year-old and over, public health officials say doses are in "extremely limited supply."

"To county residents who are 65 and older please understand that how soon you can get a vaccination depends on the number of doses we receive every week," L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday.

Ferrer says with nearly 1.4 million seniors 65 and older and up to 800,000 eligible health care workers, the number of vaccines needed to complete two shots is more than 4 million. But so far, just over 850,000 doses have been delivered.

"Often we do not know from one week to the next how many doses will be allocated to L.A. County," Ferrer said.

RELATED: 5 new COVID vaccination super sites open in LA County

Five vaccination super sites were up and running in Los Angeles County on Tuesday. Health care workers and those who live or work at nursing homes were still the only ones who qualify for the shots. Though senior citizens should be able to make appointments for the vaccine later in the week.

For some residents, just getting an appointment has been a challenge. The county website to make appointments,, crashed for several hours Tuesday due to high traffic.

The county says thousands were still able to book appointments and urges seniors to keep checking for available slots. Officials say they are increasing call center capacity for those without computer access. For those without a computer, appointments can be made by calling (833) 540-0473.

Los Angeles County on Tuesday opened five new vaccination super sites, in addition to the one opened at Dodger Stadium last week.

The sites are at the Forum in Inglewood, Cal State Northridge, Magic Mountain, the Los Angeles County Office of Education in Downey and the Fairplex in Pomona.

Helping ease some concerns, the state advised providers Wednesday evening they can resume using a batch of coronavirus vaccine from Moderna after some people fell ill and a halt to injections was recommended.

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The decision frees up more than 300,000 doses to counties, cities and hospitals struggling to obtain supplies.

The state epidemiologist says after examining evidence they found "no scientific basis to continue the pause."

L.A. County Wednesday reported 6,492new COVID-19 cases and an additional 262 deaths.

Ferrer says while cases have started to decline, the numbers are still high.

"The end is not yet in sight," Ferrer said. "With high numbers of daily cases hundreds more people will require hospitalizations."

L.A. County says in the Antelope Valley, nearly 20% of all cases have occurred in the last two weeks. At Antelope Valley Hospital there are tents set up outside. It's a field hospital with more than 50 beds and it specializes as a respiratory care unit. Right now it is housing 30 patients.