Long Beach begins vaccinating educators

The city of Long Beach is now offering the coronavirus vaccine to teachers and school staff.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Long Beach is now administering the COVID-19 vaccine to Long Beach Unified School District and Long Beach City College educators and school staff.

"If we ever want to reopen school campuses, you've got to have teachers vaccinated," said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. "Teachers have to feel safe in the classroom, parents have to feel safe sending their kids to the classroom."

Dithmar Rualo is the first teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District to get inoculated.

"I've had deaths in my family so I'm trying to prevent that from happening to me and my family and I'm just trying to get back to work," Rualo said.

The McBride High School teacher is now one of approximately 30,000 people to get the vaccine in Long Beach, a city that boasts its own health department.

"Having our own health department has made like a huge difference and so we're very grateful for that," Garcia said.

Last week, the city began offering the vaccine at the Long Beach Convention Center to those who work in the food sector.

"We're almost done with health care workers. We also are doing 65 and over every single day. We finished paramedics, firefighters, police officers," Garcia said.

Currently, Long Beach is in phase 1B of its vaccine rollout plan, which includes an estimated 90,000 residents.

"We're just trying to get the vaccine out the door as fast as possible and we're just hopeful that more vaccine is on its way," Garcia said.

Residents are encouraged use the city's online portal, Vax LB, to get notified receive vaccine-related notifications.

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