Community clinic offers vaccines to residents in hard-hit South Los Angeles

WILLOWBROOK, Calif. (KABC) -- Residents lined up Friday to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a community clinic in South Los Angeles, where they have been hit hard by the virus.

For the next few weeks, clinics in that area run by MLK Community Healthcare will offer free Pfizer vaccines to eligible community members, including health care workers and people over the age of 65.

Those who showed up did not need an appointment, but they did have to prove they live in the surrounding area, including Compton, Crenshaw, Lynwood, Watts, Athens, Florence, Hyde Park, Jefferson, Paramount and Willowbrook.

Officials say those communities, which are largely made up of African Americans and Latinos, are being affected by the virus at a significantly higher rate, yet lag behind in vaccine distribution.

Hardest hit communities in LA County are among the lowest vaccinated so far, data shows
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L.A. County is on a race to vaccinate as many people as possible as it approaches its own grim milestone of 20,000 deaths due to the virus.

Friday's vaccination event was part of an effort to close that gap and reach out to community members.

"We know that there's a very sick patient population. We know that we have a very sick community that really needs the assistance, really needs the help, and at many times are forgotten," said Tarick Jackson with MLK Community Health.

The MLKCH vaccine clinics will be open on select days. Officials say more locations and times will be announced in the coming weeks.

South LA Community Clinic takes steps to improve racial inequities in vaccine distribution
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'The digital divide is very real.' St. John's Well Child and Family Center 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.

California has issued more than 8 million vaccines as of Friday. Gov. Gavin Newsom said supply is still an issue, but the anticipated emergency use authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would likely give the state a significant boost.

He said California plans to receive more than 380,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's single-dose vaccine in the coming weeks, and he hopes California's vaccine allocation will continue to increase by the end of March.
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