Long Beach begins COVID-19 vaccinations for people 65 and older

Residents 65 and older will now be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine through appointments as the city moves into the next phase of its mass vaccinations for educators, food sector employees and other frontline workers.

The city is holding a clinic on Saturday that was previously designated for people 75 and older, but that clinic is already full, Mayor Robert Garcia said in a news conference on Thursday.

The city will have more available vaccination pods and residents are urged to first contact their healthcare provider. Appointments can be made by calling 562-570-4636, option 6, and leaving a message or email [email protected] Officials said to expect about a one- to two-day response time due to the high volume of questions.

Next week, the city will launch on online portal called VaxLB where residents can register for regular updates and notifications for when it’s their turn to receive the shot. 

Garcia said the process has so far moved smoothly as Long Beach, which has its own health department, has avoided some of the “horror stories” seen in other jurisdictions.

“Our vaccination process is going well,” he said. “Here in Long Beach it’s something we’re very proud of.”

By contrast, Los Angeles County has said it does not yet have enough doses to begin vaccinating residents 65 and older. The county remains in its first phase of vaccinating essential healthcare workers with the goal of moving to its next phase in February.

Long Beach on Tuesday will launch a super site at the Long Beach Convention Center capable of vaccinating around 3,000 people a day. The phase includes the following:

  • Food Service Workers (you will be notified to make an appointment through your employer) – Clinics begin Tuesday.
  • Education Sector (you will be notified to make an appointment through your employer) – Clinics begin Jan. 25

Tier 2 is expected to begin in March and will include:

  • 16-64 years of age with underlying medical conditions
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Industrial, residential and commercial
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk: incarcerated and persons experiencing homelessness

The second part of the March tier will include:

  • Water and wastewater sector
  • Defense
  • Energy
  • Chemical and hazardous materials
  • Communications and IT
  • Financial services
  • Government operations/community-based essential functions

The vaccine is expected to be available to the general public by late April.

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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].