LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to begin preparing to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
Supervisor Janice Hahn authored a motion highlighting a request from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking some jurisdictions, including California, to start putting plans in place. [Read the motion here.]
Three potential vaccines have been funded for Phase 3 clinical trials under the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed. Federal health officials have said that limited doses may become available as early as this fall, and President Donald Trump said Tuesday a vaccine would be available “in a matter of weeks.”
Hahn pointed to the need to prioritize who would get the vaccine first, which could include healthcare professionals, residents of long-term care facilities and those in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
“We are the largest county in the nation, and when the time comes, we will need to fairly and equitably get a vaccine to over 10 million people,” Hahn said. “We need to start preparing now to receive, store, distribute and administer a vaccine so we don’t waste any time.”
Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Kathryn Barger said the plan should also focus on educating the public about the vaccine and addressing unease people are already expressing.
“We know that some of our residents are wary of vaccines in general,” Kuehl said, noting that the county has trouble getting more than 50% of residents to get an annual flu shot. “The COVID-10 vaccine might face some skepticism and scrutiny because it’s new.”
The county’s plan should be designed to “make it understandable to people that this is safe, necessary and really a part of what must be done in order to end this pandemic in our state,” Kuehl added.
The board asked for a report back in 45 days