On the day vaccine eligibility expanded to include people with chronic conditions and disabilities, deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department were able to go door-to-door in Lawndale administering unused doses to some of the county's most vulnerable.
- Well, the push to increase COVID-19 vaccinations is growing. The list of people now eligible to get vaccinated has expanded. It includes people with disabilities and some pre-existing conditions. And in some cases, the shots are being brought right to those who need them the most. KCAL 9's Rachel Kim shows us.
RACHEL KIM: The LA County Sheriff's Department Special Enforcement Bureau arrived in Lawndale this morning on a mission. The deputy and lieutenant who are also licensed paramedics were armed with shots to give to people like 22-year-old Marilyn Chavez, who has autism and has been waiting for the COVID vaccine.
MARILYN CHAVEZ: I don't want to get sick. That's what I need a vaccine for.
RACHEL KIM: Marilyn is one of many Californians with high risk medical conditions and disabilities who are now eligible to get the COVID vaccine. But she didn't have to go to a vaccination site because the Sheriff's Departments paramedics are dropping by the homes of some of the most vulnerable to administer their unused doses.
SUSANNE BURAKOWSKI: We had extra doses. So it's fantastic that it went to people that really need it and probably would have to wait a while before they'd be able to get their doses. So it's great.
RACHEL KIM: Marilyn's mom, her caretaker, also got the shot. She's grateful for the in-home visit and vaccinations.
LETICIA CHAVEZ: When she waits a lot, she gets frustrated. And she starts to cry, or yell, or fighting. And I want to avoid that. That's why I thank you for coming.
- You're good.
- Thank you.
- You're very welcome.
RACHEL KIM: Next stop, the home of Alejandra Chavez. Her sister who is also her caretaker tells us Alejandra has severe mental retardation.
MARIA BARRAZA: With the vaccine, I feel that it's going to be better, more protected for her.
RACHEL KIM: With the expanding groups of people now eligible to get the vaccine, which is nearly half of all Californians, there's an increased strain on limited supplies. This, says LA County, works to address issues of mobility, accessibility, and equity.
ELIZABETH ESPINOSA: One of the things that we're seeing here is disability health care access in action. This is about vaccine equity. This is about saying, how do we meet the need? Because there are those that are falling through the cracks. And that's what we're seeing today.
MARIA BARRAZA: Right here is everything came to me. So thank you.
RACHEL KIM: Rachel Kim, KCAL 9 News.