Los Angeles County Health Services to Vaccinate 10,000 Frontline Health Workers by New Year’s Eve
Mass Vaccination Effort Began This Morning at Three County Hospitals
L.A. County Health Services today embarked on a mass COVID-19 vaccination effort that will result in 6,000 vaccinations by Christmas and 10,000 total vaccinations by Dec. 31 for its frontline healthcare workers. The vaccinations are initially taking place at three of the four County hospitals: LAC+USC Medical Center, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Since the first vaccination allocation is limited, LA County Health Services is following CDC and state guidance in identifying and vaccinating those workforce members who are in the highest risk categories and working in our highest intensity areas, such as the ICU and Emergency Room. The mass vaccination effort is occurring while LA County Health Services manages the largest surge of COVID-19 patients seen during this pandemic. Within the Health Services department, the surge has led to limited ICU capacity, nurse redeployment, overflow triage and treatment areas, ambulance diversion and long wait times in the emergency rooms.
As the County’s healthcare safety net, LA Health Services acute care hospitals have been highly impacted by the current COVID-19 surge as they primarily serve low-income and communities of color that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. While the vaccinations provide a glimmer of hope, LA County Health Services encourages the public to continue with its vigilance during these next few weeks and to stay at home as much as possible.
“After nine months of working to save our families, friends, and neighbors, healthcare workers who are getting vaccinated today, and soon thousands of other healthcare workers, will now have extra protection and peace of mind so they can continue doing what they do best: keeping Los Angeles County safe and healthy,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, and Supervisor to the First District. “Hope is here, but we still have much work to do as the COVID-19 crisis is the worst it has been. Just as these healthcare workers are committing to our communities by getting vaccinated, we must commit to them and do what is in our control to stop this virus,” said Hilda Solis, Chair, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and Supervisor to the First District.
Dr. Christina Ghaly, director of LA County Health Services, thanked the healthcare workforce, including nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and others who have been on the frontlines since March. “They have seen firsthand how devastating this pandemic has been and continues to be, and today we are battling an unprecedented surge in LA County that threatens to overwhelm our public hospitals and undermine our ability to care for patients,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director, LA County Health Services. “But finally, there is hope.”
Dr. Ghaly also said LA County’s vaccination effort was unique for its scale – 10,000 workers by New Year’s Eve. “We are grateful we could mobilize and vaccinate so many of our healthcare workers,” she said. “We can’t respond to the rapidly growing need or overcome the resounding challenges if our workforce doesn’t stay healthy.”
“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is a huge step forward,” said Dr. Tamara Chambers, Chief of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at LAC+USC Medical Center who intubates COVID-19 patients in the ICU and was among the first cohort of healthcare workers to be vaccinated today. “It’s a breath of fresh air. We now have another layer of protection that allows us to care for those critically afflicted by the Novel Coronavirus. We get the vaccine for ourselves and for our communities. We want everyone to be protected so we can end this pandemic.”
Martin Reyes, RN for the Intensive Care Unit at LAC+USC Medical Center, receives a COVID-19 vaccination on Dec. 18 as part of LA County Health Services’ effort to vaccinate more than 10,000 frontline healthcare workers by the end of 2020.