By Arnold Adler
PARAMOUNT — City officials are working with the Los Angeles County Health Department to help residents get COVID-19 vaccinations.
Their proposals include free rides for all residents to locations where the vaccinations are being offered, such as the nearby County Office of Education in Downey and establishing a vaccination site at Paramount Park.
Cerritos College is also proposing a vaccination site at its Norwalk campus, and is supported by the cities of Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Lakewood, Norwalk and South Gate.
Except for Bell Gardens, the cities and part of South Gate are in the Cerritos Community College District, as are the cities of Downey, Hawaiian Gardens and La Mirada.
Paramount is in the Compton Community College District.
The Paramount council directed city staff Feb. 2 to continue its efforts and budgeted funds to cover anticipated costs.
Paramount Community Services and Recreation Director David Johnson, in a report to the council, said the estimated transportation cost to the vity would be approximately $5,000, paid for by county transportation funds.
If the county agrees to a vaccination site at Paramount Park, city staff would help operate the location at an estimated cost of $75,900.
“If a Paramount site is not selected, council pledged to use those funds in ways to help residents obtain a vaccination,” City Clerk Heide Luce said.
Johnson said there is currently an insufficient amount of the various vaccines available and the Paramount plan would not take effect until there are enough.
The plan involves distribution of vaccines from the federal government down to local health departments.
The county Department of Public Health has made it clear that there will not be enough vaccines for everyone at the onset of distributions, Johnson said. However, the plan is to distribute the limited vaccines in a fair, ethical and transparent way.
“The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities are available; this may take a few months,” Johnson said.
He said city staff has met with representatives from county Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office, as well as officials form the county Department of Public Health to promote the Paramount Park site.
Johnson offered two plans once enough vaccines are available. One called for the temporary expansion of medical taxi service to include all residents.
The city currently offers a taxi-based service to medical facilities within five miles of the city for senior citizens and those with disabilities. The city subsidizes the cost up to a maximum of $18.40, so that residents only pay $2 per trip.
Should the county approve a vaccination site at Paramount Park, staff proposes providing part-time city staffing to assist with traffic control and direction on the park site. That would consist of approximately five city employees over a 10-hour period, six days a week for an anticipated 18-week period, costing an estimated $75,900.
Additional full-time employees would provide supervisorial and liaison support for the county at no additional costs.