Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia released this message on Saturday, Jan. 30, his weekly update on the city’s status amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
This weekend, Long Beach will surpass 45 thousand doses of COVID vaccine dispensed to healthcare workers, food service employees, educators, and adults 65 and older. This is due to the support we’ve been able to receive from Governor Newsom and the California Department of Public Health, as well as the partnerships we’ve been able to build up in the county, locally and in our community also.
Vaccine distribution has been an endeavor of monumental size and complexity for Long Beach, but we’ve succeeded where many have struggled. All of the doses we receive are being dispensed. Our vaccination sites are working efficiently and safely and we are getting great feedback from the community about the process. I’m proud of our efforts and grateful to the staff who make this all work.
That said, I know there has been real concern about getting appointments and the process has been confusing and frustrating for some. Both in the state and nationally, information has been rapidly changing on this topic and vaccines remain in short supply. I share your frustration over the lack of supply and have been working day and night to bring more vaccine doses to Long Beach.
I am proud that Long Beach has stepped up to meet this challenge. Vaccinating everyone who works and those who live in Long Beach is no small task. It’s important to also remember that the biggest benefit from vaccination isn’t in the individual protection each person gets from the vaccine, but in the herd immunity we can build by wide vaccination in the community. That’s one reason it’s important to vaccinate people who are out in the city as essential workers, particularly those who come in contact with the public frequently — and also those 65 and older, since we’ve seen that this group is most at risk of suffering the worst consequences of the virus.
As I said in my State of the City earlier this month — the state our city is strong. Not only did we begin vaccinating seniors before much of the rest of California, but we’ve also begun vaccinating many of our teachers, which our School District says is important to reopen schools. As an educator, I want to see schools open fast – but not faster than is safe, and this is an important first step.
From the oldest to the youngest in our community, and including those serving on the front lines of this pandemic, our mass vaccination plan is designed to get Long Beach back up and running at full speed as quickly as possible.
While the City of Long Beach stands ready to continue quickly dispensing every dose of vaccine we receive, we are totally reliant on the federal government for our supply, and we must continue to follow CDC and State guidelines for distribution. As we receive more doses, usually each week, we will open up new appointments — and we will keep doing this until everyone in Long Beach who wants to be vaccinated receives the vaccine.
I know it isn’t easy to wait for something so important, but I also know that we are approaching better days. If we are smart, and as we achieve broad vaccination in our community, our numbers will be low enough that we can begin reopening more of the economy, and life will begin to feel a little more like it did before we ever heard of the coronavirus.
Please help us get there by being smart and staying safe.