LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to stop operating two mass vaccination sites in California next month, just days before the state makes everyone 16 and older eligible for a shot.
The two sites in Oakland and Los Angeles opened in February for an eight-week pilot program that concludes on April 11. The sites will switch from the Pfizer to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires just one shot, during the final two weeks of operation so that people do not have to sign up for a second dose elsewhere.READ MORE: Antioch, Oakland Police Announce Arrests In Series Of Shootings Blamed On Gang War
State and county officials said they would have liked the program to continue, though it provided a small fraction of California’s overall shots. Each site was set up to vaccinate 6,000 people per day but they have been administering up to 7,500 shots per day, according to the state Office of Emergency Services. Since the sites are federally managed, those shots are separate from California’s overall weekly allocation, which is now about 1.8 million shots per week.
Representatives for the Alameda County Public Health Department, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Keith Carson did not respond to requests for comment about the closure of the Oakland site.READ MORE: Regulators Rebuke PG&E For Neglect In Reducing Wildfire Risk
Frank Mansell, a spokesman for FEMA, said while the sites may keep operating in some fashion, the special allocation of doses will not continue after April 15. The closure of California’s sites does not mean sites will be opening elsewhere, he said.
Sami Gallegos, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Public Health, said California will continue to pursue its equity goals through other sites. The state has reserved 40% of all doses for people in the least advantaged neighborhoods, many of whom were vaccinated at the two federal sites. The state has more than 2,000 vaccination sites, she said.MORE NEWS: Clayton Man Pleads Guilty To Online Child Exploitation
“California’s commitment to equity is much more than just two vaccination sites,” she said.