LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – The city of Long Beach this week began moving forward with administering the coronavirus vaccine to food workers.
The vaccinations for restaurant and grocery store workers are taking place at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, which opened its vaccination super site on Tuesday.
However, the city reported Wednesday that all appointments at the convention center had already filled up for the week.
Long Beach has a separate health department than Los Angeles County, and how quickly the city can move through the phases of the vaccine rollout will depend on how many doses it receives.
We are making strides in our vaccination rollout and are now moving into vaccinating food workers,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s crucial that essential workers stay healthy and we’re committed to ensuring all food sector workers, whether they live or work in Long Beach, get their opportunity to get vaccinated.”
Radhika Chougule, owner of Cuppa Cuppa, told CBSLA she received a call Wednesday night from the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department notifying her that her employees were eligible to get vaccinated.
“It’s really good that they’re taking us seriously, same as like the grocer workers, it’s really nice that they thinking that people working in the food are equally working like the front line workers,” Chougule said.
Teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District will begin receiving the vaccine on Jan. 25, Garcia said last week.
While Long Beach is trying to expand the vaccine to more demographics, L.A. County is still being more deliberate in its approach.
L.A. County had only been vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing home residents until this week. On Tuesday, those over age 65 were allowed to begin signing up for vaccination appointments. However, most have had trouble doing so due to the crushing demand.
“I know people would feel much better if we could say to them, ‘you know, every week there will be x number of appointments for people 65 and older to get their first dose,’ but we just can’t do that because we don’t have allocation numbers in advance,” L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday Garcia signed a law requiring that all grocery stores in Long Beach give their food workers an extra $4 per hour in hazard pay due to the risks associated with working during the pandemic. The law will stay in place for at least 120 days.
Long Beach food workers who want to get vaccinated should either check with their employers or sign up for updates on the city’s new online vaccination portal VaxLB.