A Los Angeles city-run vaccination site will open at the University of Southern California starting Tuesday, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Thursday.
The University Park campus site is expected to be able to administer thousands of vaccinations per day once it's fully operational, Garcetti said.
“This number will be initially limited due to supply constraints but ready to jump into action and grow as those doses are delivered in the coming weeks,” Garcetti said. He thanked USC President Carol Folt for her work to open the campus up to the public for vaccinations.
In addition to the new vaccination site, Garcetti announced Thursday that the city is partnering with the rideshare app Uber to help people in South Los Angeles get inoculated at USC.
Uber is providing 15,000 free rides to pick up residents in South L.A. and take them to the site, and 20,000 rides will be available at half-off, “so at a moment when too many people in our city might qualify for the vaccine but don't have a car or a ride, we're going to make sure you get to your shot,” Garcetti said.
The program is funded by Uber and the nonprofit Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles, to which Garcetti urged people to make donations at mayorsfundla.org.
“Right now, the mayor's fund is focusing more and more on those mobile teams, more on transportation and providing more support for outreach to vulnerable populations including our seniors and people with disabilities,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti also announced that the city will receive its first batch of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, and a second batch is expected to arrive in the next few weeks.
With the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, the city-run sites, as of Wednesday, had administered 477,654 vaccines.
Garcetti noted that with the arrival of the newly FDA-approved one-shot vaccine, the city will be able to fully vaccinate the same number of people with half the supply.
“Here's the bottom line, all of these shots work. All of them will save your life or the life of a loved one and every day in Los Angeles, we're making it easier for people to get a shot, including those who face steep barriers,” Garcetti said.
Toward that aim, the city is launching an initiative, called Dependent Homebound Population Vaccination, to bring vaccines directly to the homes of people who are home bound due to chronic disease, disability or other obstacles.
The program will deploy teams of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters and personnel from Sean Penn's CORE nonprofit to people's homes.
The goal is to vaccinate 300 home bound seniors this coming week and then increase from there.
“This initiative builds off of other successful efforts to bring critical COVID-19 services like testing and vaccines to skilled nursing facilities and other vulnerable areas that might be higher density, communities of color or lower income parts of L.A.,” Garcetti said.
The mayor's COVID-19 briefing came on the one-year anniversary of the state of emergency declaration he issued due to the pandemic. He urged Angelenos to remain cautious despite the growing optimism that the end of the pandemic is near.
“We could be in the last few miles of this terrible race that we've been running, close to putting this awful pandemic behind us,” he said. “As one medical expert... put it, ending precautions now -- which I know there's a lot of pressure to do -- it's kind of like entering the last miles of a marathon and taking off your shoes and eating several hot dogs. That illustrates just how absurd it would be if we were to suddenly let up, let that virus back in.”