With just weeks before school starts, officials urge students to get vaccinated now

More than half of kids age 12 to 17 are not vaccinated in Long Beach, and with the school year starting in just a few weeks, health officials are urging families to get students vaccinated before they return to class.

The fall semester begins for Long Beach Unified School District students on Aug. 31. There’s currently no mandate for LBUSD students or employees to be vaccinated, but superintendent Jill Baker said late last month that the possibility is “under discussion.”

For now, “We strongly encourage all community members, especially students headed back to in-person learning, to protect themselves and help keep our city healthy by getting the vaccine,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement Saturday.

A screenshot from the city of Long Beach’s COVID-19 dashboard showing the percentage of vaccinated residents by age.

Long Beach City College previously announced that students and staff returning to campus must show proof of vaccination or agree to weekly testing. At Cal State Long Beach, there is a blanket mandate requiring all students and staff to be vaccinated if they want to access campus facilities unless they qualify for a religious or medical exemption.

In a push to get as many students as possible vaccinated before classes, hours at city-run vaccination clinics are being extended, more sites are being added and new incentives are being offered.

CSULB clinics

Vaccine clinics on the CSULB campus will be available from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays starting Aug. 11, near the campus bookstore at 6049 E. Seventh St.

LBCC clinics

Vaccines are being administered at LBCC’s Pacific Coast Campus, Parking Lot 1, at the corner of Orange Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, the clinic will now be available Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with greater vaccine and testing capabilities.

Additional mobile clinics at LBCC’s Liberal Arts Campus, Parking Lot 1, at the corner of Carson Boulevard and Clark Avenue, will take place from:

  • 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 10
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 23
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 26
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday, Aug. 30
  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 31

A free scoop of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is being offered to those who get vaccinated at a mobile clinic, according to the Long Beach Health Department.

Children ages 12 to 17 are eligible to receive only the two-dose Pfizer vaccine while those ages 18 and older can choose either a one-dose vaccine or two-dose vaccine, city officials said. Children younger than 12 are not yet eligible for any type of COVID-19 vaccine.

The delta variant of COVID-19 is a more transmissible strain and is currently the dominant one in Long Beach. New infections of the virus continue to surge.

As of Saturday, Long Beach reported that the daily rate of new cases per 100,000 residents has risen to 33.2. That’s up from 25.2 a week ago and significantly higher than LA County’s current daily case rate of 24.2 per 100,000 residents. Long Beach’s testing positivity rate in the last 60 days climbed to 8.6% from 7.7% last week.

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