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Long Beach Kicks Off Mass Vaccination Effort

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Drivers check-in for a COVID-19 vaccination as the Long Beach Convention Center becomes a mass vaccination site in Long Beach Monday, January 19, 2021. (Thomas R. Cordova/ via Long Beach Post)
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The Long Beach Convention Center parking lot — known locally as the "Elephant Lot" — is open once again. This time, it's serving as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site.

City workers expect to vaccinate about 1,800 people today. Long Beach is currently distributing the vaccine to essential health workers, first responders, and people age 65 and older. About half of those in the first vaccine phase have already received their second shots.

And starting today, grocery store employees and food workers — including restaurant cooks — can sign up for appointments.

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said of his city's efforts:

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"I've been talking to all of the different mayors across the state, I talked to the governor's office, been communicating with the governor as well, directly. And right now, there is definitely a sense that we are getting something right in the city."

Garcia says appointments will open next week for Long Beach Unified School District teachers and staff. The city is also implementing a system to prevent doses from going to waste — so if someone doesn't show up, people further down the waiting list will be contacted to get the shot instead.

Long Beach, like Pasadena, operates its own health department. The rest of the county's residents are served by the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

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