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Don’t Let Concerns About The Cost Of Parking Stop You From Getting Your Free COVID-19 Vaccine (Or Booster)

A nurse wearing a N95 mask is holding a needle in one hand and a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the other. Behind the nurse is a colorful but blurred out mural.
Licensed Vocational Nurse Eloisa Flores prepares a dose of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Los Angeles.
(FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP)
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Here at LAist, we report stories that answer your questions.

Like this one we got from a reader, who wanted to know what happens if you get a vaccine at a place like a theme park or airport that usually charges a lot for parking.

It’s my job to look into your questions, so I looked into what a few places were doing.

When the vaccine site at the Hollywood Burbank Airport opened in August, a dozen or so people would come in for the free shots on an average day. The site offered 90 minutes of validated parking, which usually more than covered the time it took to get through.

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Lately, however, with the Omicron surge, up to 10 times as many people are coming in for the shots, which means the lines are getting longer—and the 90 minute validation might not cut it.

But officials there don’t want the price of parking stop you from getting your shot there.

“We want to make the experience as convenient as possible … we don't want them to have to worry about parking, that extra thing,” public information officer Nerissa Sugars explained. “We just want them to get vaccinated.”

Sugars says if the wait is longer than the 90 minutes covered by the parking validation, just tell the parking staff you were getting your shot on the way out. They should let you through, no extra payment required.

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A Universal Studios Hollywood Spokesperson says the same thing goes for the vax clinic at CityWalk. Folks who are only there to get the COVID-19 vaccine can park in the short-term lot in the Jurassic parking structure (which you can access from Universal Studios Blvd). If your shot takes more than the 30 minutes of free parking they’re offering, just let the staff know you were there for the shot.

That will not apply for the pop-up vaccine clinic at LAX, though. If you’re going there, be prepared to pay $7 for the first hour (or get someone to drop you off).

“This is designed to give passengers, employees and anyone else who might find it convenient to get their shot at LAX easy access,” spokesperson Heath Montgomery explained.

“The most likely people to use the LAX location are probably travelers and others already planning to be at LAX, but absolutely anyone may use it.”

When asked if there was any concern that parking prices may be a barrier to getting vaccinated, the L.A. County Department of Public Health pointed out that there are hundreds of clinics around the area administering the free shots that don’t charge for parking at all.

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But if you’re getting your shot somewhere that does, try calling ahead or asking around at the site about validation.

Other options

If you’re unable to drive to a vaccine site, know that you have other options, including:

  • Taking public transit (some sites are located at Metro stations) 
  • Using a taxi or rideshare service (Uber and Lyft have programs to help cover the cost of getting to and from your vaccine site)
  • Requesting an at-home vaccination (if you have mobility challenges that would otherwise prevent you from getting to a vaccine site, you can request this through the state’s booking portal at myturn.ca.gov)
  • Getting transportation assistance (also available through MyTurn)

And we cannot say it enough: the COVID-19 vaccines are free, regardless of your immigration status or whether or not you have insurance.

What questions do you have about vaccines?