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Morning Brief: Short Supply Is Still CA’s Biggest Vaccine Obstacle

Healthcare workers get vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Martin Luther King Jr Community Hospital. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Good morning, L.A.

In the effort to vaccinate Angelenos against COVID-19, the main problem — as we’ve reported — is supply. State officials, who allocate the vaccine to all 58 counties, are working on it, but efforts at all levels of government still need to be ramped up.

At a press conference yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California received one million doses of coronavirus vaccines last week. He expects to see that number increase slightly every seven days, so that by next week, it’s up to 1.2 million.

But as long as the vaccine requires two shots, inoculating the state’s entire population of adults ages 18 and over — approximately 30.4 million people — while receiving 1.2 million vaccines per week would take almost a year. And that’s if distribution played out perfectly.

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It’s “simply not enough … everybody recognizes that, from the President on down,” Newsom said.

The federal government set a goal of vaccinating 100 million people in 100 days. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said the plan is ambitious but possible, despite the fact that President Joe Biden was starting from scratch in creating a distribution strategy.

In L.A., city and county officials have been working to set up supersites that are capable of handling thousands of residents each day. The county is currently operating supersites at the El Sereno Recreation Center, Magic Mountain, The Forum, the Pomona Fairplex, the Balboa Sports Complex, Cal State Northridge, and the County Office of Education.

The city is operating five large-scale vaccination sites, at Dodger Stadium, San Fernando Clinic, Lincoln Park Clinic, Crenshaw Clinic, and Hansen Dam.

And last week, two new supersites opened locally, at Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State L.A. According to County Supervisor Hilda Solis, there are now more than 340 vaccination sites in L.A. County, including not just large-scale operations, but also pharmacies and health clinics.

Newsom noted yesterday that 4.65 million Californians have been given at least one dose of the vaccine, and the pace of inoculation now is “double where we were just a few weeks ago, triple where we were a month or so ago.”

Still, for this week, L.A. County officials are prioritizing giving out second doses. And serious concerns remain over data indicating that Black and Latina/o Angenelos are being vaccinated at less than half the rate of other racial and ethnic groups.

“The goal is indeed to eventually have vaccination sites everywhere from schools to local community centers to trusted service providers, based in people's neighborhoods,” Solis said. “The supply remains our biggest challenge, and the logistics of cold storage, the short lifespan of these vaccines are also obstacles in our mass vaccination campaign.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • L.A. County health officials have confirmed five cases of the coronavirus strain originally detected in the United Kingdom.
  • LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said the district’s schools are not ready to reopen.
  • A judge issued a preliminary injunction blocking L.A. District Attorney George Gascón's effort to remove sentencing enhancements from current cases.
  • Here's why some people feel mildly sick after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even though the shot doesn't contain the live virus.
  • An LAist reader who immigrated from Kenya and an LAist reporter who was born in Colombia and raised in America share two very different experiences on being Black in L.A.
  • Teachers from the Alhambra School District are adamant that it's not possible to go back to the classroom safely without vaccinating teachers.
  • L.A. native Amanda Gorman made history as the first poet to perform an original piece at the Super Bowl.

Before You Go … Here’s What To Do This Week

California Donuts and Ring Pops sweet Valentine's Day collaboration. (Courtesy of Amanda Lao)

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and that means a lot of love-and-heartbreak-themed activities. Here are a few, as well as some options that have nothing to do with love at all:

Listen to The Moth’s tales of love and heartbreak. Learn to cook vegan coconut flan. Tune in to a panel discussion about the Black women of rock and roll. Catch a screening of Minari, the story of a Korean American family that moves to an Arkansas farm. Bite into a half-off pizza deal on National Pizza Day. And more.

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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