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New COVID Vaccine Site Opening At USC, City Working To Get Doses To Homebound Residents

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday announced that a new Los Angeles city-run site will open next week at the University of Southern California.

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A student wears a facemask at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California on March 11, 2020, where a number of southern California universities, including USC, have suspended in-person classes due to coronavirus concerns. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Garcetti said the University Park campus site, which will open Tuesday, is expected to be able to administer "thousands" of vaccines per day once it's fully operational.

"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," he said.

In addition to the new site, Garcetti also announced that the city was partnering with Uber to provide 15,000 free rides to the site for South Los Angeles residents and another 20,000 half-priced rides to help facilitate better access for Angelenos without cars.

The program is funded by Uber and the nonprofit Mayor's Fund for Los Angeles.

"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 said that the city is expected to receive its first batch of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, with a second batch expected to arrive in the next few weeks — allowing the city to fully vaccinate more people with half the supply needed for the Moderna and Pfizer options.

"Here's the bottom line, all of these shots work," he said. "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."

Also toward that aim, Garcetti said the city was launching the Dependent Homebound Population Vaccination program to bring doses directly to the homes of people who are homebound due to chronic disease, disability or other obstacles.

"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.

But some people living in hard-hit areas are skeptical that the latest initiatives to promote vaccine equity will actually work.

"I think it's all kind of BS," Seph Lloi, an L.A. resident, said. "I have a homie that just died. He was 25."

In his address, given on the one-year anniversary of the state of emergency declaration he issued due to the pandemic, the mayor urged Angelenos to remain cautious despite 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."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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