Vaccine crisis: Shortage leads to closed sites, postponed appointments in LA

 Los Angeles County health officials are encouraged as the number of coronavirus cases continues to trend downward, but concern persists about the shortage of vaccines, which has prompted the two-day closure of five city-run sites.

On Wednesday, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city will have exhausted its supply of Moderna first doses – two are required for full immunization – forcing it to close vaccination sites Friday and Saturday at Dodger Stadium, San Fernando Park, Hansen Dam, Lincoln Park and the Crenshaw Christian Center.

The vaccine shortage for city-run sites appeared to have come earlier than anticipated Thursday morning when supply became exhausted, according to Andrea Garcia, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

“Due to an unforeseen vaccine supply shortage today, City of L.A. vaccination sites ran out of doses earlier than expected,” Garcia said in a statement. “The City was able to secure additional vaccines, and as a result, 2,987 morning appointments were rescheduled for this afternoon at Dodger Stadium.”

The vaccination site at Dodger Stadium and four other city-run sites in L.A. will be closed for two days due to a shortage of vaccines, Mayor Garcetti says.

Garcia added that the 2,987 doses that became available “Represented the remainder of City-Run appointments for the day,” and that anyone who had an appointment at a city-run site was not turned away. The city says it likely won’t be reopening its sites until Tuesday.

At the Crenshaw Christian Center site, long lines of cars snaked around the neighborhood Thursday as people waited to get vaccinated.

Those who spoke to Eyewitness News and wanted to get their first shot said making an appointment wasn’t easy.

“I called the line a couple of time and there were no appointments,” James Smith said. Eventually, he was able to land a spot to get vaccinated.

Some of the issues are there aren’t enough supply, and it’s hard to reach underserved communities.

Los Angeles County health officials are encouraged as the number of coronavirus cases continues to trend downward, but concern remains about the shortage of vaccines.

“We have been working hard to make sure these disparities are addressed,” L.A. City Councilman Curren Price said.

Only 7% of Black residents age 65 and over and 14% of Latino seniors have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Officials say some are hesitant.

“We are encouraging neighbors who are hesitant to trust,” Price said.

In Montebello, Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital brought the vaccine to residents at the Telacu senior center.

“Being able to reach out to key partners like Telacu who are working with us to get the vaccines out here is so exciting. We believe this is the way we will get the inner city vaccinated,” said Mara Bryant of White Memorial Hospital.

Meanwhile, 200 soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado are on their way to L.A. to help with vaccine distribution.