"Clearly South Los Angeles is the hardest hit community with the most COVID cases and COVID deaths," said Jim Mangia, CEO and President of St. John's Well Child and Family Center.
The network of clinics has led the way in providing testing and treatment to underserved communities. Now, it hopes to lead the way in offering vaccines.
It's a difficult task, given the rates of vaccination among White and Asian residents in L.A. County continues to be significantly higher than among Black and Latino residents.
"92% of the people we have vaccinated have been people of color," Mangia said.
Mega vaccination sites such as the one at The Forum in Inglewood and at California State University, Los Angeles hope to make inroads in these communities to increase accessibility for people without cars and for those without computers.
"There are far too many people who don't have access. The digital divide is very real," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell.
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She said establishing more of these community vaccination pods will also reduce vaccine hesitancy.
"There's a familiarity and an innate level of trust," she said.
In the next few weeks, more sites will open at the East L.A. Civic Center and Clinton Elementary.
"Build it and they will come," Mitchell said. "And part of us building it is to make sure we have a vaccine to put in their arms."
"The 1.6 million vaccines that have been provided in LA county, I want to note that they have all been done in collaboration," said Dr. Muntu Davis with the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
"This unique partnership has been another way for us to support our community," said Compton College President Keith Curry.
Starting in March, St. John's and its community partners hope to start ramping up services with the goal of vaccinating 30,000 people per week.
"What's most important today is that the folks who come and get their vaccines go back and tell their family, friends and neighbors," Mitchell said.
This site alone is expected to vaccinate up to 400 people per day
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