As Los Angeles County residents aged 16 and older become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine next week, officials at the county health department expect a dip in available doses. Tom Wait reports.
- More southern Californians will be eligible to get the vaccine next week, but supply may be the issue.
- That's right. That's because Johnson & Johnson had manufacturing problems, and now those shipments will be reduced by 86% across the country. KCAL 9 political reporter Tom Wait is here now with how county health officials are handling these issues. Tom?
TOM WAIT: Hi there, [INAUDIBLE] Well, health officials here in LA County say they are confident the J&J issue will not be a long-term problem, but there could be some issues next week, as you said, as the state plans to allow more people access to the vaccine. As COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens up next Thursday to people aged 16 and up, LA County health officials are urging patience as they anticipate a flood of people trying to book an appointment.
PAUL SIMON: We will be urging folks to make appointments. We won't have as much latitude, unfortunately, to just accept walk-ins. And we will be urging people to be patient. It may take several weeks before appointments become a little bit easier to get.
TOM WAIT: Dr. Paul Simon says there are more than 700 clinics and sites available to give out shots. That includes pods, pop-up clinics, and pharmacies. But there may be a supply problem, as we said, because of Johnson & Johnson. The manufacturing mistake was announced last week. LA County will receive 74,000 fewer doses next week as a result.
At the same time, more people become eligible. Pfizer is asking the FDA to clear the use of its vaccine in kids ages 12 to 15. Right now the vaccine is only approved for use in people 16 and older. Pfizer is currently testing its vaccine on kids 12 to 15 and says results so far show it is 100% effective. The FDA has not said when it will make a decision on whether to expand Pfizer's emergency use authorization.
Also LAUSD students return to campus next week. Some elementary schools will reopen with a staggered schedule by grade over three days. The remaining ones will open the week of April 19. The middle and high schools opening the week of the 26th.
On April 15, the state is opening up vaccine eligibility for anyone 16 and older so you should be able to start booking appointments one or two days beforehand on the website [? My Turn. ?] [INAUDIBLE], back to you.