LONG BEACH, Calif. - The city of Long Beach began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to teachers on Monday, making them the first group of teachers in Los Angeles County to do so.
Dithmar Rualo, a government teacher at McBride High School, was the first teacher in Long Beach to get vaccinated. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia shared a photo of himself with Rualo on Twitter after he got his first shot.
This comes as other areas like Los Angeles County, which has a separate public health department, are trying to figure out the best way for vaccine distribution while struggling with a limited supply.
"I think that every single vaccine that goes into someone's arm as potentially saving someone's life," said Garcia, who lost his mother and stepfather to COVID-19 last year.
Pictured: Greg and Gabriella O'Donnell (Credit: Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia)
"What we have to do as a state, and really across Southern California, is we have to be incredibly obsessed every single day with waking up and figuring out how we can get more vaccines into peoples' arms that day," Garcia said. "That's got to be priority number one for everybody. I think that's why we've been so successful in Long Beach."
"We're proud to be the first big city in the state of California to start vaccinating educators," Garcia told Good Day LA anchor Michaela Pereira.
The city of Long Beach vaccinated nearly 600 educators on Monday with more vaccinations planned for Tuesday. On Wednesday, community college teachers will be receiving their vaccines, followed by preschool educators on Thursday, Garcia said.
The mayor said that since Long Beach has its own health department, they are able to make decisions a little faster, which included prioritizing educators for vaccinations.
"I strongly believe that we cannot have fully functional schools until teachers are vaccinated and feel safe," said Garcia.