LONG BEACH, Calif. - Long Beach is now in the second phase of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, giving doses to high-risk city workers Thursday and Friday, with senior citizens starting this weekend.
With its own health care department, Mayor Robert Garcia says they’re able to use guidance from the state and make decisions more quickly and smoothly than sometimes larger cities are able to.
'"Too bad you can’t see my big smile behind this mask," said Long Beach Emergency Director Reggie Harrison with a laugh, as Public Health Physician Dr. Sarah Mohtedi gave him the vaccine.
At a press conference Thursday, Long Beach city leaders received the COVID-19 vaccine including Mayor Garcia, who lost his mom and stepdad to the virus over the summer.
"My mom being a healthcare worker, [it was] all about the science and about doing the right thing and so I think it’s important for me to show people it’s safe," said Mayor Garcia.
About 15,000 healthcare workers in Long Beach have now been vaccinated and some are already on their second round.
As part of the second phase of the vaccine rollout plan, Long Beach residents 65 and older with an appointment and ID can be vaccinated starting Saturday. On Tuesday, local grocery store and food workers can get the vaccine at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Starting Monday, January 25, educators will be eligible.
"I’ve been reading a lot of reports about disaster stories happening in other places, counties, cities, horror stories," Mayor Garcia told the community. "That is not happening in Long Beach. Our vaccination process is going well."
Next week, the city of Long Beach is launching VaxLB, an online portal where residents can sign up to be notified when it’s their turn to get vaccinated. In the early Spring, the city is offering mobile vaccine options for those who can’t access the large drive-thru services.
Dr. Mohtedi, who’s been giving people coronavirus tests since April, is now administering the vaccine, our answer to the end of this pandemic.
"We’re making history, so it’s very exciting. My husband gave it to me on Monday and then I administered the vaccine to him on Monday as well," Dr. Mohtedi said.
"It’s safe and everyone should get vaccinated," said Mayor Garcia.
"I feel much better than I did before, that’s for sure," said Harrison, breathing a sigh of relief.
Once you’re eligible, make an appointment as soon as possible because Saturday’s clinic for those 65 and older is already full and you have to have an appointment to get vaccinated. You can do so by calling 562-570-INFO or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You will need to bring proof of residency and date of birth to your vaccine appointment and if you’re a grocery store worker, an employee badge or a recent pay stub to prove eligibility.
The city offers both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, depending on the weekly shipments they receive.