St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, which serves more than 100,000 people in South and Central Los Angeles, announced Monday it has been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a pilot site to provide a COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment and has received eight refrigerators to store coronavirus vaccines in its role as an official county vaccination site.

St. John’s, which is the largest provider for undocumented individuals in the country, will provide monoclonal antibody infusion treatments at its network of clinics. The treatment helps decrease symptoms and prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

St. John’s representatives said the refrigerators will be used to store COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, adding they anticipate being able to vaccinate their own staff of frontline healthcare workers as soon as mid-December, with the chronically ill and elderly receiving the vaccine soon thereafter.

St. John’s representatives said they anticipate the general public will have access to the vaccine by March, making South Los Angeles among the first communities to have access to COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.

Withits refrigeration capacity, St. John’s will be able to vaccinate tens of thousands of South L.A. residents a week, according to Jim Mangia, president and CEO of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center.

“After working quickly and tirelessly to create brand-new systems, practices, outreach and education efforts to combat COVID-19 in South and Central L.A. since February, we are relieved and honored to be one of the first sites to soon begin providing prevention of the virus with two remarkably effective vaccines, as well as treatment for those who test positive,” Mangia said.

“Our patients, many of whom are undocumented frontline workers and African American families, have been hard hit by the pandemic — physically, emotionally and financially,” he said. “We look forward to bringing them the healthcare they deserve, and continue working to keep our communities safe and well.”

Earlier this month, St. John’s received an $840,000 grant from the county Department of Public Health to ramp up COVID-19 education in South L.A. and Compton and $350,000 to increase its contract tracing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in South L.A.

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