LOS ANGELES (CNS)—A new COVID-19 vaccine site, part of a joint effort between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the governor’s Office of Emergency Services, is set to open Feb. 16 at Cal State Los Angeles.
The community-focused site will be able to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day for both drive-thru and walk-up appointments and will also deploy a mobile clinic that will visit local community centers and schools.
“Folks will be able to come to Cal State L.A. using transit and then walk up and get their vaccine,” Jose Gomez, executive vice president and provost of the university, told reporters last week.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Biden administration announced the pilot project and said it is part of a wider effort to establish 100 vaccination sites nationwide during the president’s first 100 days in office.
The Cal State Los Angeles site—along with a similar site at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum—will be co-run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of California.
Newsom, speaking at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum Feb. 3, hailed the partnership as a critical step in improving the speed and efficiency of administering vaccines, particularly in traditionally under-served communities.
“Equity is the call of this moment,” Newsom said. “The reason this site was chosen was the framework of making sure communities that are often left behind are not left behind, but prioritized in terms of the administration of these vaccines. As a consequence, we are blessed not only by the announcement of this partnership with the Biden administration but their full federal support in terms of their allocation of the resources to help us move forward with the distribution of these vaccines.”
He said that in addition to vaccines, he hopes the sites will also create some job opportunities for local residents.
Acting FEMA Administrator Bob Fenton said the two California sites are “perfect examples of how FEMA is working around the clock to support state led, federally supported vaccine delivery. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in the ongoing effort to ensure every American who wants a vaccine will receive a vaccine.”
FEMA will provide resources and federal staffing support, as well as operational support.
“Cal State L.A. is ready to work with President Joe Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom and their administrations to provide badly needed vaccinations,” Gomez said. “Our students and alumni live in communities with some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita in Los Angeles County.”
Officials said the two California locations were chosen because they’re in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and are home to essential workers who have borne the brunt of keeping the economy open over the past year.
“We are grateful to President Biden and Governor Newsom for marshaling federal and state resources to significantly increase our ability to vaccinate our residents in Los Angeles County,” said Hilda Solis, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“Our county and in particular our Latinx residents have been absolutely devastated by COVID-19. Establishing this large scale federal-state community vaccination center on the Cal State L.A. campus, in the heart of Los Angeles County and in a hard-hit community, is a welcome signal that we are ramping up at the federal, state and local level with the practical, boots-on-the-ground solutions we need to put an end to this deadly pandemic.”
Preparations for both locations are underway and the sites are expected to be open to eligible members of the public this week. Registration for vaccine appointments at the Cal State L.A. site online.
Metrolink is offering a direct connection to the site. Metrolink’s Cal State LA Station is on the San Bernardino Line. Riders can reach the walk-up vaccination location by taking the elevator or stairs from the train platform to the university transit center and following directional signs to Structure A.
Shuttles will take people from the transit center to the vaccination site.
“With a county this size, offering transportation options to vaccination sites is critical,” said County Supervisor Hilda Solis, a Metrolink board member. “… I am grateful that Metrolink will serve as a vital and accessible link for so many of our residents who rely on public transportation.”