LA County Is Gearing Up for Another Wave of Vaccines. Here’s What To Expect

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

LA County Is Gearing Up for Another Wave of Vaccines. Here’s What To Expect
Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

When COVID vaccines first arrived in Southern California, lines at clinics often snaked around the block and online booking was near impossible. With booster shots for COVID likely to become available in the coming month, officials are scrambling to get infrastructure in place to prepare for the onslaught.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve use of the shots in the coming weeks and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention will likely lay out an inoculation plan. With the Biden administration promising a Sept. 20 rollout date for booster shots, officials are trying to avoid a repeat of those early days.


"Here in L.A. County we're doing all the planning now, so that depending on the recommendations coming out from the CDC and the FDA we will be ready here," said Barbara Ferrer, the director of the Department of Public Health.

Neither Ferrer nor the county has laid out those plans in detail yet. But demand is likely to soar.

The boosters follow a promising study that Israel's Health Ministry conducted which found three jabs of the Pfizer vaccine were more efficacious at protecting individuals from the hyper-contagious delta variant than two.

The U.S. is also looking at vaccinations for children under 12. Pfizer director Scott Gottlieb has said the company could file an application for emergency use with the FDA as soon as October. That could mean child vaccinations are available as soon as this winter.

There are 1,050 vaccination sites scattered across the nation's most populous county. L.A. County Department of Public Health said it is ramping up efforts to bring more mobile vaccination clinics to underserved areas of Los Angeles, and doing home visits to home-bound residents.

The department said in a statement Friday that it was working with "vaccine partners to prepare for boosters" and seeking additional providers to help bolster its vaccine delivery infrastructure. The statement added county service providers are awaiting further guidance from the CDC and the state on eligibility and a time frame for the roll out, and said the department has been "assessing capacity."

But the mass testing and vaccine sites erected at the start of the pandemic have long been taken down and it's unclear whether the current sites, along with local hospitals, pharmacies and doctor's offices could fill the gap. Dodger Stadium, once the nation's largest testing site, is open for ball games and the parking lot where 430,000 vaccine shots were administered is now filled with parked cars.Curative, one of the city's partners in testing and vaccinating residents, has closed dozens of vaccine sites as demand shifted further towards needing mobile testing centers. It now operates about 25 testing sites in L.A.

Curative Vice President of Marketing Miranda Gottlieb said the company is gearing up to test more people in the fall by opening more drive-through clinics, but residents are not going to see massive testing infrastructure provided by the likes of Dodger Stadium, which it helped operate.

"Our whole apparatus has sort of waxed and waned along with the pandemic. When vaccines were sort of exponentially being given to people, far fewer people were getting tested," said Lucy Licht, the Southern California partnership manager at Curative.

Rita Burke, a health policy expert at USC, said what we are likely to see in this next wave is a repeat. There will be groups of people lined up to get the booster as soon as it comes out, creating long lines at vaccination sites, and demand will slowly wane.

"It's just hard to have anything permanent of that big of a scale in Los Angeles because space is such a commodity," Burke said. "...any large scale operation like that requires tons and tons of resources in terms of people, in terms of supplies."

Last month, federal officials and the CDC made a third shot available for certain people who are severely immunocompromised, like cancer patients receiving active treatments, those with untreated HIV infections, transplant recipients, and people taking medication that suppress the immune system. These shots are not boosters. They are for people who did not receive enough protection from a second shot and need a third. Boosters replenish the immune system.

There are about 800,000 immunocompromised people in California, a sliver of the state's more than 39 million residents. How effective the rollout for this is could be a harbinger of what's to come.

https://twitter.com/KeerthiVedantam
keerthi@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending