Food workers to be vaccinated in ‘super-sized’ clinic at Long Beach Convention Center

Long Beach food workers in search of a COVID-19 vaccine could soon have an opportunity to get an elusive appointment date as Mayor Robert Garcia announced Thursday that over 3,000 shots could be given to eligible workers next week.

In a tweet, Garcia said that restaurant, bodega, grocery and “anyone in food” would be eligible to receive their shots at a “super-sized” vaccination clinic at the Long Beach Convention Center Friday March 5.

Garcia said the city is reaching out to employers to get employee contact information to sign them up for appointments.

A city spokesperson said that these appointments would be separate from 3,000 others the city has set aside for dock workers, who were classified as food workers last week.

While some appointments will be generated through the city’s appointment portal other employees will be sent special scheduling links to assist with their signups, the spokesperson said.

“We were working to get all food workers vaccinated as we work to fully reopen this important part of our economy safely,” Garcia said.

Delivery drivers and couriers that deliver food will be eligible after the state adjusted its tiers Thursday night to include that sector as food workers, a city spokesperson said.

Grocery stores, which never closed during the pandemic, have had outbreaks across the county. Long Beach and a growing list of other cities and counties have passed legislation requiring “hero pay” increases for grocery workers but grocery workers, and other food employees, have had to work throughout the pandemic with little protections from the general public.

The Los Angeles Times reported in January that restaurants and grocery stores throughout the region had become sites of infection with one location in Culver City having over 70 staffers test positive.

Costco employees and other grocery store employees who don’t work in the city have been eligible for vaccinations for weeks, however, they’ll likely miss out on being contacted through the city’s process to sign up employees for next weeks vaccine clinic.

In a separate social media post Garcia said that the city was using the city’s business license database to contact employers to get in touch with employees.

As of Tuesday, food workers had received about 3,500 of the over 69,000 doses administered by the city, or about 5%.

Editors note: The state updated its guidelines after the original story was published. The story has been updated to show that food delivery workers are now classified as food workers. 

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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