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Lawmakers, Unions, Port Officials Push For Dockworkers To Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — There's an increasingly urgent push to make dockworkers eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The International Longshore Workers Union says nearly 700 dockworkers have tested positive for COVID-19, and if more become infected, officials from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach worry that could slow down the movement of cargo.

Health care workers, first responders and residents and staff in skilled nursing facilities were prioritized in public health officials' vaccination schedule. The schedule has since been opened up to residents 65 and older, and in Long Beach, food sector workers are also starting to receive vaccinations.

However, stores of vaccines are low and public health officials have acknowledged they have not been able to vaccinate as many people as they had hoped at this point.

Two area congressional representatives said in a letter to California and Los Angeles County officials that the flow of goods through the ports is vital to their communities and the nation.

"Without immediate action, terminals at the largest port complex in America may face the very real danger of terminal shutdowns," Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-San Pedro, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, wrote on Jan. 15.

Local officials have also written to top state officials urging vaccination of Southern California's 15,000 dockworkers as soon as possible.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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