By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Pacific Palisades Community Council welcomed guest speakers Zac Gaidzik and Lonnie Resser for a presentation on Los Angeles County’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution process at its Thursday, January 28, virtual meeting.
Resser, health program analyst with LA County Department of Public Health, began by sharing a slideshow with facts about COVID-19, the vaccines and how they work, as well as information pertaining to distribution of vaccines and appointments.
“The first dose primes the immune system, and the second dose strengthens the immune response,” according to Public Health’s slide on why people need two doses of the current vaccines available, from Pfizer and Moderna. “You need to get the same kind of vaccine for both doses. When you get the first dose, make sure you know when and how to get the second one.”
Resser explained that those who get the vaccine at a county-run location will receive an email from Public Health with information about the second dose.
“For LA City sites, it’s a little different,” she reported. “Residents who get it there will receive an email and text from Carbon Health within two weeks with information about their second appointment.”
For those who got their first dose at a pharmacy, they should hear directly from the location about scheduling the second dose, and if not, to reach out to the site.
Throughout the county, “every resident is guaranteed a second dose,” with specifics depending on where the first was acquired. Information is available at the county’s website (vaccinatelacounty.com) under a “Second Doses” header.
“The county monitors how many people currently eligible for vaccine are due for their second dose, and aims to reserve enough supply to offer second doses to everyone who has received their first at the appropriate interval,” Resser shared through a PPCC update on January 29. “For those with second doses due in a few weeks, please have patience as we build out the infrastructure and systems to swiftly offer everyone their second doses. Those who are due for their second doses sooner will be prioritized.”
Resser explained that while waiting for a vaccine, as well as after being vaccinated, it is important to wear a face covering, avoid close contact and crowded spaces, wash hands often, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and follow isolation and quarantine guidance.
“We all need to continue to take steps to stop the spread, especially since the regional stay-at-home order was lifted and more sectors are opening up this week, nothing has changed,” she shared. “This virus is still very present in our community—hospitalizations have gone down and new cases have gone down, but it only takes a few missteps to get us back to where we’ve been over the last few weeks.”
At the conclusion of the slideshow, Resser and Gaidzik, West/Metro field deputy for Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, responded to questions from PPCC board members—most of which had inquiries regarding the difficulty of securing appointments for both the first and second doses.
“We have 1.3 million people over the age of 65 in LA County,” Gaidzik explained. “Our allotment per week is between 110,000 and 160,000 doses, so it’s going to take some time.
“With that being said, I also want to point out that we’re two weeks ahead of time from our original plan, we were not even going to begin 65-plus until the beginning of February, so we’re already ahead of schedule in terms of the vaccination process as a whole.”
Additional information on who is able to receive the vaccine at this time in the county is available at myturn.ca.gov.
Resser said that another question she gets asked is whether wearing a mask or getting a vaccine is more effective; she recommended using all of the tools available at the time.
“We have to use every tool that we have to slow the spread,” she said. “We need to keep wearing our masks, we need to get vaccinated.”
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