LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The state of California Wednesday authorized immediate access to COVID-19 vaccines for all residents aged 65 and older, following new guidance from the federal government.
Orange County started offering shots to seniors at the county’s first super vaccination site set up at Disneyland.
Despite the optimism, it turned out to be a rocky process as many people were turned away, while the O.C. appears to have plenty of vaccines available.
L.A. County’s first vaccine supersite, Dodger Stadium, is expected to open on Friday. The county says it plans to open up five other massive vaccine sites, but has not yet given details on where yet.
L.A. County still has a huge shortage of vaccines, and it’s expected to take weeks before people over 65 can receive it.
On top of that, L.A. County still has approximately 500,000 health care workers to vaccinate as well.
Dr. Michael Wasserman, who sits on the state’s vaccine advisory committee, says there are more issues preventing a full and fast rollout.
Many people in assisted living facilities and group homes — identified as high-risk populations — still aren’t scheduled to get their shots until months from now.”
“We actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to get done more quickly with our health care workers,” said Dr. Wasserman. “We have a lot of really vulnerable people who aren’t even scheduled to get the vaccine until March or even April, or not even scheduled yet at all.”
The uneven rollout is caused by massive and frustrating logistic issues with only one-third of the doses that federal officials shipped to California handed out so far.
“Clearly the remainder are sitting in warehouses waiting to be used,” Dr. Wasserman said.
On Wednesday night, 47 state lawmakers — Democrats and Republicans — signed a letter to the governor demanding the state clean-up its vaccination rollout.
Among their requests are a reliable forecast of doses California can expect in the next month and to help increase staffing, they suggest allowing the National Guard to begin administering shots.
“There is no higher priority than efficiently and equitably distributing these vaccines as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement announcing the change. “Individuals 65 and older are now the next group eligible to start receiving vaccines. To those not yet eligible for vaccines, your turn is coming. We are doing everything we can to bring more vaccines into the state.”
Federal authorities Tuesday urged states to expand the availability of the vaccines and offer them to anyone 65 or older, and to people older than age 16 who have underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to serious illness from COVID.
However, new state guidance addresses only people aged 65 and older. It does not advance eligibility among people with underlying health conditions.
It was not immediately clear if Los Angeles County would immediately follow the state’s revised guidelines.
According to the state, a website was being set up for people to register for email notifications about when they will be eligible for shots.
Los Angeles County has an email system set up for people to sign up to receive updates on vaccine distribution. People can register at vaccinatelacounty.com.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)