With its supply of first-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccines exhausted, the city of Los Angeles will close the mass-vaccination sites it runs at Dodger Stadium and four other locations Friday and Saturday, a move the mayor lamented as an “enormous hurdle.”
The sites will reopen when the city receives more vaccines, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said. Monday is the Presidents Day holiday.
“This is an enormous hurdle in our race to vaccinate Angelenos,” Garcetti said of the vaccine shortage.
The city has administered 293,252 doses, or 98% of its supply, the mayor said during a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.
“We’re vaccinating people faster than new vials are arriving here in Los Angeles, and I’m very concerned right now,” Garcetti said.
He said the city received only 16,000 new doses of vaccines this week, while it is administering an average of 13,051 doses per day. This week’s allotment pales in comparison to the 90,000 doses the city received last week, and 29,000 two weeks ago — mirroring the week-to-week uncertainty that has plagued many jurisdictions during the vaccine rollout.
The closure of the five city-run sites will not impact anyone in need of a second dose.
“We’re closed for two days, but remember we’re using Moderna so everybody’s going to be able to hit their second dose timing,” Garcetti said. “We do anticipate more doses coming next week, we’re told more will come, but we don’t have an exact number. … The county has always said `we will guarantee you your supply for your second dose’ so nothing has changed with that.”
Although the city-run sites are closing, the large-scale vaccination sites operated by Los Angeles County will remain open, although they are administering only second doses this week, also due to short supplies of vaccine.
Garcetti urged federal and state agencies to send vaccines to the city Los Angeles, and said if the city has the supply, it will be able to complete 5 million vaccinations by July.
“I’m hoping that there’s some federal official out there, some state official who tonight got the good news that some more doses are on their way someplace and tell us `Hey, you don’t have to go dark on Friday, you don’t have to go dark on Saturday,”’ Garcetti said.
“Because if we get that news tomorrow, we’ll have that rocking and rolling at Dodger Stadium and the four other sites for the rest of the week.”
Garcetti said the city’s successes — setting up the nation’s largest vaccination site and administering 98% of its vaccine supply — should be reason for more vaccines to be sent.
Garcetti also said it wasn’t clear why the city received so few doses this week.
“Doesn’t mean we haven’t asked, doesn’t mean the state isn’t trying. But you know the federal government is saying 11 million doses are going out there, there’s something screwed up in the system,” Garcetti said.
“I’m not pointing fingers, I’m here to help, but I need everybody to help me too so that we aren’t put in that position of suddenly going dark on the biggest vaccination center in the world.”
While the city’s five sites will be closed, the new mobile vaccination clinics will continue to administer first doses on Friday and Saturday.
The mobile vaccination pilot program began in Council District 8 last week and administered more than 1,700 shots, more than two-thirds of which went to Black Angelenos, Garcetti said.
The program’s capacity was doubled this week as it was expanded into Council District 9, and Garcetti expects the capacity to triple next week with the addition of the city’s third mobile unit in the eastside of Los Angeles in Council District 14.
“Even with fewer vaccines and having to shut down Dodger Stadium, we will keep those going this week because we can’t afford to see the outbreaks and quite frankly the unequal deaths that we’re seeing in communities of color,” Garcetti said.