Residents over 16 can now get a COVID-19 vaccine in Long Beach

Any Long Beach resident over 16 can now get the COVID-19 vaccine at the city’s Convention Center mass distribution site, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced at a news conference Thursday.

The vaccine will be available for walk-ups only with no appointment at the Terrace Theater entrance, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday. At least 500 shots will be available each day, and those who are in line who are not able to get a shot will be scheduled for another day, Garcia said.

“Long Beach, you all can get vaccinated starting today,” Garcia said.

After April 15, residents in that age group will be able to make an appointment on the state’s website.

The news comes as the state has said it will open the vaccine to anyone over 16 by April 15. Long Beach has been allowed to move ahead of the state’s schedule due to its faster vaccine rollout.

As of Thursday, more than 43% of the city’s eligible adults—more than 163,000 residents—have received at least one dose of the vaccine, the mayor said.

More than 86% of residents over 65 have been vaccinated.

“It’s really impressive numbers,” Garcia said. “We’re really outpacing where the country and the state has been on these numbers.”

Long Beach Health Department Director Kelly Colopy gave the latest data on what has been a “dramatic decrease” in COVID cases following a winter surge.

About three month ago in January at the height of the surge, Long Beach was averaging 739 new cases a day. That number has now dropped 96% to an average of 31 cases a day.

The city’s rate of positive cases compared to those getting tested also has plummeted from a high of about 17% percent to down to about 1.7%, the lowest rate since the start of the pandemic, Colopy said.

Colopy said the city is seeing lower hospitalization rates with 34 people hospitalized in five area hospitals, down from nearly 600 at the height of the surge.

Colopy said the city will continue working to address the racial and geographic disparities in the vaccine rates with bus shuttles to vaccine sites for areas hardest hit by COVID, popup clinics, door-to-door information campaigns and partnerships with community organizations.

“We’re doubling down on our effort to make sure all communities have access to the vaccine,” she said. 

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Kelly Puente is an award-winning general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. She has worked as a journalist in Long Beach since 2006, covering everything from education and crime to courts and breaking news. Kelly previously worked at the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register before joining the Post in 2018. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].