Mayor Robert Garcia said Tuesday that the Long Beach Convention Center will become a coronavirus vaccine distribution site, the first of several that will become available throughout the city in the coming weeks and months.
In his annual State of the City speech, Garcia said grocery and food distribution workers would be the first people vaccinated at the Convention Center.
He added the following details about the city's vaccination efforts:
- 13,000 health care workers, hospital staff, pharmacists, dentists, paramedics, firefighters and residents and staff at nursing homes and long-term care facilities have already been vaccinated;
- Next week, more essential workers, including teachers, police officers, grocery workers and residents 75 and older will receive the vaccine;
- The first senior vaccination clinic will begin Saturday with clinics, hospitals and medical providers already in receipt of vaccines to begin vaccinating this group immediately;
- Beginning Jan. 23, people aged 65 to 74 can also get vaccinated at city clinics.
- Beginning Jan. 25, teachers and staff at the Long Beach Unified School district will receive vaccinations.
- Next week, the city will launch VaxLB, an online portal where residents can enter their email and other information to be alerted you it's their turn to get vaccinated.
In remarks delivered at the Terrace Theater to an online crowd that watched on the city's website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LBTV3, Garcia began by noting the extraordinary challenge of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"Normally every year during the state of the city we go through data, accomplishments, and initiatives from our city and community. But this is not a normal year -- and tonight's speech will be different."
"Few moments in our history have required so much of us. We are dealing with the single largest threat to life we have ever faced as a city," Garcia said. "We have lost more than 484 of our neighbors, family and friends. That's four times the number of people we lost in the 1933 earthquake. Sadly, we will see more loss of life in the months ahead. This is the greatest challenge of our generation."
Garcia also touched on issues of racism, noting more than 100 goals the city has set through a Racial Equity and Reconciliation Initiative that was formally adopted by the Long Beach City Council.
He closed by addressing the storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump last week.
"I want to share my anger and disgust at the attack on our Capitol last week," Garcia said. "That was an attempted coup on our democracy -- and an attack on our country."
"As an immigrant, who fought to gain citizenship, I was horrified at what we witnessed as a nation. We are an imperfect country, but we must strive towards truth and justice. We must call out wrongs when we see them. I am hopeful a new America -- together, healthy, and focused on equity -- can become a reality in the years ahead."