LONG BEACH (CBSLA) – Teachers in the Long Beach Unified School District began receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations Monday, making them the first group of teachers in Los Angeles County to do so.
The teachers lined up early Monday morning at the Long Beach Entertainment and Convention Center, where a total of 1,000 doses were being administered to LBUSD staff over the next two days.
The first teacher in line, an AP government and economics instructor at McBride High School, even took a selfie with Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
"I think what we're doing is doing the most that we can to get them as prepared as they can to reopen safely when they're able to do so," Garcia said. "Vaccination is a huge part of that, so we're just happy to get people vaccinated."
On Wednesday, Long Beach City College professors will have their chance to come through the line to get their first doses.
Garcia said the city, which has its own health department, would be making future decisions on vaccine clinics depending on the supply.
"We have our own health department, so we can make decisions a little faster and, I think, move faster, but it's really about vaccine supply," he said. "We're going to do 500 educators today, probably another 500 tomorrow, but we could be doing 5,000 educators today if we had enough vaccine."
There are approximately 12,000 LBUSD employees who need to be vaccinated.
And while the district has not yet announced a reopening date for schools, Superintendent Jill Baker has said that vaccinating people will take time and that the district is also exploring school-based COVID-19 testing for adults and students — a part of the state's Safe Schools plan.
"Protecting the adults is important," Joe Pistoia, LBUSD program administrator, said. "Protecting the students is very important also, so I think it's a two-way street, and I think you have to have both in order to have safe facilities."
Last week, the city began vaccinating restaurant and grocery store workers at the convention center.
L.A. County itself is still only vaccinating healthcare workers and those over 65 due to a shortage in vaccines. On Sunday, county health officials said they would be receiving 137,000 new doses this week. However, 89,000 of them have already been guaranteed to people who need their second shot. That leaves less than 50,000 available for new appointments for the week.
"Our biggest problem, our biggest challenge, is just scarcity of vaccine," L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Sunday.
Ferrer said L.A. County has been allocated about 685,000 doses from the federal government. So far, about 520,000 doses have been administered.
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