California is now the US state with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, but the vaccine supply is not always up to this sad record: due to lack of sufficient doses, five sites of vaccination will temporarily close in Los Angeles, including the iconic Dodgers stadium.
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“We are vaccinating people faster than the vials arrive,” the mayor of the city, Eric Garcetti, said on Wednesday evening, expressing his concern over supplies “uneven, unpredictable and too often unfair”.
According to him, Los Angeles has received this week only 16,000 doses of the vaccine, while on average just over 13,000 are administered there each day. To date, Los Angeles has distributed just over 293,000 doses of vaccine, to some 4 million people within the city walls.
As a result of these difficulties, the vaccines for the first injections should be exhausted by Thursday evening and the municipality will have to temporarily close five sites for several days. Those venues, including the legendary Dodgers baseball stadium, one of the largest vaccination centers in the United States, should not be able to reopen until Tuesday or Wednesday.
The centers operated by Los Angeles County will remain open, but they are also affected by the shortage. Most appointments will be for people who need to receive the second dose of the vaccine.
So far, only professions related to the medical sector as well as residents of nursing homes and residents over the age of 65 can benefit from the vaccine in the county.
But the health authorities announced that they hoped to be able to extend within two to three weeks vaccination to other professions considered “essential”, including teachers. Most schools have been closed for eleven months in Los Angeles due to the pandemic and pressure from politicians and the population to reopen schools is increasing.
The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, may well insist that the vaccination of professors is not a prerequisite, the interested parties and their unions are sticking to their positions.
California this week became the US state most bereaved by the pandemic, overtaking New York with at least 45,000 dead.
In this context, the priorities for access to the vaccine cringe the teeth of part of the population. While many elderly people, police and relief workers are still on the waiting list, vendors employed by shops selling cannabis have already been vaccinated.
In California, cannabis is not only legal, but considered a “medicine”, and people working in cannabis “dispensaries” are granted the status of “medical worker” for access to the vaccine.