Circling the News received information from several readers that can be summed up by a statement from L.A. County Health Department: “L.A. County will not begin vaccinating people age 65 and older until we complete vaccinations for healthcare workers and receive more vaccine from the state for this new priority group.”
As of January 16, there were 32,960 Covid-related deaths in California and about 75 percent of these deaths were ages 65 and older, according to the California Department of Public Health.
TMZ reported on January 14 (“How Dare the Health Department Allow Clinics to Throw Vaccines in Garbage?!?) that “The L.A. County Dept. of Public Health is allowing clinics to throw unused vaccines in the trash rather than inoculate thousands of residents who are desperate to get the shot, and it has enraged at least one county leader who is on a mission to reverse this insane policy.
“L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn is reacting to a story TMZ broke last week, where a clinic administering the vaccine to health care workers ended the day with 150 unused vials of the COVID vaccine that were about to spoil … because a huge number of people who signed up were no shows.
“The clinic — the Men’s Health Foundation in Inglewood — contacted people who were not on the priority list but desperately wanted the vaccine, and these folks got the remaining doses. Incredibly, that runs afoul of the County Health Dept’s guidelines, which say ONLY people on the priority list should be vaccinated, EVEN IF THE VACCINES WOULD OTHERWISE END UP IN THE TRASH.”
According to Bloomberg on January 15 (“Biden Plans Fewer Rules, More Shots in New Vaccination Drive”), “As president, Biden will encourage states to abandon a complex series of priority groups used to triage vaccinations and instead focus on giving shots to front-line essential workers and anyone 65 and older, according to an announcement Friday by his transition office. He plans to set up community vaccination centers and mobile clinics and “jump-start” an effort to make shots available at pharmacies.”
On the Bloomberg Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker (https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/), West Virginia leads with doses administered at 73.4 percent, followed by North Dakota (77.1 percent), South Dakota (61 percent) and Texas (57 percent). At the bottom are Alabama (29.3 percent), Hawaii (30.5 percent), North Carolina (32.6 percent) and California (33.5 percent), according to a story, which was updated on January 16.
Why has California had such a tough time with rollouts? The state received the most vaccines of any state at 3,548,575 doses, well ahead of Texas, which received 2,105,600 doses.
Circling the News urges you to reach out to your elected representatives, specifically L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Los Angeles is under the jurisdiction of L.A. County and its department of Public Health, headed by Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D.
One reader sent a message from UCLA Health: “The distribution of the vaccination is managed by LA County. Due to limited supply, the county has only authorized COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers and nursing facility residents. UCLA Health has vaccinated our healthcare workers. We are now assisting the county by vaccinating healthcare workers from other organizations to help expedite this first phase and proceed with vaccinating patients. We will contact you as soon as the next phase of vaccinations is authorized by L.A. County.”
Another reader sent information from Cedars-Sinai: “California Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced he is opening vaccine administration to residents 65 and older. While this is welcome news for Cedars-Sinai patients, we are awaiting definitive guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on when and how to implement the governor’s directive. Decisions about vaccine administration are determined by Los Angeles County and we are in daily communication with our colleagues at the county’s Department of Public Health.
“At present, we don’t know exactly when we will be able to offer vaccines to our patients. We do want you to know, with complete confidence, that when we are authorized to proceed, we will notify our patients immediately.”
During Thursday’s Pacific Palisades Community Council meeting, Area representative Sue Kohl addressed social media reports that Kroger/Ralphs had secured vaccinations and that many people had signed up, but that information seemed to be incorrect.
Another reader said that she had signed up through St. John’s online, and is scheduled to get the vaccination January 18, even though she is not a healthcare worker. (On Monday the resident was turned away because St. John’s said they need to fix their website. He added, “I guess they would rather throw it away.”)
Another reader cited the January 14 L.A. Times story, headlined “How to Sign Up to Find out When It’s Your Turn to Get the Vaccine in L.A. county,” “ L.A. County says it hasn’t vaccinated enough people in the higher-priority groups to begin offering vaccines to people over 65.”
Another reader wrote: “Hi! I saw that you were requesting information on where people over 65 can get a vaccine. I am forwarding this newsletter. There is a link to this webpage which allows you to make an appointment or to get on the waitlist for a vaccine at one of the county health centers (like Dodger Stadium), depending on your age, occupation and health status.”
(Editor’s note: I went to the site and filled in my occupation and age and received the following information: “You are in the Phase 2 cohort that is not immediately eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.”)
Meanwhile, the Community Council will host Supervisor Kuehl’s Deputy Zac Gaidzik on January 28, who will answer questions about the vaccine.
A “Covid-19 Vaccine Virtual Town Hall,” sponsored by the LA County Department of Public Health, will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19. The moderator is Dr. Hector Flores and participants include Dr. Eloisa Gonzalez, Dr. Paul Simon and Dr. Seira Kurian. It will be available on Twitter http://twitter.com/lapublichealth, Facebook http://facebook.com/lapublichealth) and YouTube(http://youtube.com/lapublichealth). Ask a question: Tinyurl.com/askcovidtownhall.