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Pasadena To Gov. Newsom: We Need Vaccine Help

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The City of Pasadena is asking Gov. Gavin Newsom for help to speed up their coronavirus vaccination process. Mayor Victor Gordo said at the current rate, it will take the city two years to vaccinate all its residents.

The mayor wrote a letter to Newsom on Jan. 19 asking for assistance.

"The systemic challenges presented by the current vaccine distribution create an obstacle the city alone cannot overcome," the letter says.

Gordo asked specifically for the governor's help in setting up a state-supported mega vaccination site, like the ones at places like Dodger Stadium and Six Flags Magic Mountain in L.A. County. He suggested the Rose Bowl as an ideal location, given its size and "familiarity."

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The letter specifies that Pasadena has one mega site currently, at Victory Park, capable of delivering 100 doses per hour thanks to help from public health staff, other city departments, contracted services and volunteers. That site is only open two days a week, however, and has so far delivered 2,300 doses to recipients in Phase 1A. The city plans to open the site four days a week on Feb. 1, which would increase distribution to 2,800 doses per week.

Once the city starts administering second doses, though, they'll have even less capacity to distribute first ones, the mayor writes. He says that's simply not enough:

"Despite leveraging all city resources, it would take two years to vaccinate everyone in the city at a rate of 1,500 doses per week."

He added that Pasadena was supposed to partner with Walgreens and CVS, but that the partnership has sucked away evern more city resources and vaccine supply.

"These challenges coupled with limited delivery of vaccine from the state have made it improbable to meet the reasonable expectations of our residents and resulting demand for vaccine," the letter says. "With the state transition to Phase 1B despite limited vaccine supply, these challenges have become more pronounced."

By "state transition to Phase 1B," he means the state's suggestion that counties begin vaccinating those in the 65+ age bracket sooner.

As of Tuesday, Pasadena has vaccinated 7,282 residents. The city has orderd 20,600 doses, but only received a little over 15,000. According to census data, Pasadena has approximately 22,000 residents in the 65+ age group.

The city is still in the process of vaccinating health workers, nursing home residents/workers, and police/fire department members. Pasadena is part of of L.A. County, but the city has their own public health department, meaning they have to handle vaccine distribution separately.

The city is releasing about 3,000 additional appointments to seniors today, a spokesperson told LAist, but those appointments are guaranteed to fill up fast. Vaccination sites do not accept walk-ups.

Mayor Gordo finished the letter with a statement we can all agree with:

"I look forward to a time when everyone who wants a vaccine can get one."

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