Anyone 50 or over who lives or works in Long Beach is now eligible to get vaccinated

Long Beach says it will start vaccinating people who are 50 years or older today, a week ahead of when that group is set to become eligible for shots across the rest of the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that the state will open eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone in that age bracket starting April 1, but hours later, Long Beach said they would start even sooner.

As of today, anyone who lives or works in Long Beach and is over 50 can show up at the Convention Center and try to get a vaccine by waiting in the no-appointment-needed line. About 500 of the walk-in slots are available between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday, according to the city. If all those vaccines are taken, qualifying people will be offered a chance to book an appointment.

The city will also reach out to offer appointments to anyone 50 or over who registered with the city’s VaxLB notification system, which is no longer taking sign-ups now that the city has transitioned to using the state’s My Turn system. If you’re 50 or over and didn’t previously sign up through VaxLB, you can email [email protected] or call 562-570-4636.

On April 15, the state will expand eligibility even further, flinging open the doors for anyone 16 and over to sign up for shots.

Long Beach did not say whether they will move faster than the state on that front.

“We’re committed to making vaccinations available to as many people as possible, and now all Long Beach residents and workers 50 and older are eligible to be vaccinated,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We will be contacting this group through VaxLB and walk-ups are now available.”

At a vaccine site in Santa Ana Thursday, Newsom said California is able to expand eligibility so broadly because of an increasing supply of shots.

The state expects to receive 2.5 million doses a week in the first half of April and more than 3 million a week in the second half of the month. That’s a big jump from the roughly 1.8 million doses a week the state is currently getting.

“There’s not just light at the end of the tunnel, there’s bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Newsom said.

To get a vaccine in Long Beach, you must be able to prove you work or live in Long Beach. The city will accept documents such as a utility bill, driver’s license, work ID, pay stub or letter of employment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is managing editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram.