City works to expand access to COVID-19 vaccine

By Mayor Eric Garcetti

Contributing Columnist

This month marks one year since COVID-19 turned our lives upside down.

Angelenos have lost jobs and paychecks, their sense of security and stability, precious time with their friends and families, and worst of all, loved ones.

But through it all, the people of our City of Angels have stepped up for one another. We have shown what defines the Angeleno spirit: our compassion, our generosity, our grit, our resolve.

Today, with three safe and effective vaccines available to us, we are on the path to defeating this pandemic — to fully reopening businesses, returning our kids to school, rebuilding and reimagining a more equitable future. We know that these doses will protect us, protect our health, and protect our lives, but only as long as everyone can access them.

We closed out February with a record-breaking week: our teams administered 90,402 doses at city-run sites. We are lobbying our federal and state partners every day to secure a larger supply of vaccines, because once we get them, we have the tools and infrastructure to get them into Angelenos’ arms swiftly and safely — and we have a clear plan to make sure no one is left behind.

Our city’s leaders know that, among communities that have been hardest hit by this virus, there is not only historic distrust, but structural hurdles to overcome in getting folks vaccinated.

That drove us to launch the Mobile Outreach for Vaccine Equity (MOVE) program — to tear down any barriers that stand between life-saving doses and Black, Latino and low-income Angelenos.

By bringing mobile vaccination clinics directly to some of our densest, most historically disadvantaged neighborhoods, we’re making sure the people struggling and suffering the most have access to the vaccine.

And our 10 MOVE teams aren’t just pulling up and waiting for folks to arrive. They’re working with local community organizations and leaders to help people book appointments, secure transportation and build trust and confidence in the vaccine.

So far, 7,357 doses have been administered across sites in East L.A., South L.A., Northeast Los Angeles, and the East Valley. And 95% of people vaccinated at those mobile clinics have been people of color.

That is a clear sign of progress, and more help is on the way.

L.A.’s density and demographics made our region an epicenter of this crisis in recent months, but we see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Infections and hospitalizations continue to drop and our intensive care units are at their lowest numbers since the beginning of December.

This is good news –– but it doesn’t mean the threat of COVID-19 has passed. You can play a part in keeping up the momentum by continuing to wear a mask, maintaining social distance and getting vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn.

And if you are eligible for the vaccine now, I encourage you to sign up today. You can visit the Department of Public Health website to learn more about how to book your vaccination appointment.

You can also sign up for VaxFacts to receive updates about vaccine distribution, eligibility, and vaccination sites in Los Angeles.

We know what works. We know how to save lives. We know what we can, and must, do to defeat COVID-19.

This is harder than anything we have ever done, but Angelenos are capable of so much. And as we push forward through what I hope will be the final stage of this pandemic, our job is to harness that power and keep making the right decisions to protect ourselves and our communities.

Hope is finally on the horizon and our collective good work will hasten the day when we can return to the embrace of family and friends once again.

Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Community Report” column runs monthly in The Wave.