Millions About To Become Eligible For COVID Vaccine In California

Demand is expected to start crushing the system for coronavirus vaccines as millions become eligible in coming days and weeks. Laurie Perez reports.

Video Transcript

SUZIE SUH: Good evening, everyone. I'm Susie Suh.

JUAN FERNANDEZ: And I'm Juan Fernandez, in tonight for Jeff Vaughn. Our top story here on KCAL 9 News and streaming on CBS in Los Angeles. California is about to make millions more people eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

SUZIE SUH: That's right. Starting next week, the rules for vaccines will change big time, and the one shot Johnson & Johnson will soon be all over Southern California. But locking in that appointment could be a challenge.

JUAN FERNANDEZ: That's right. KCAL 9's Laurie Perez has the details.

CARLOS HURTADO: So it's exciting news for both my daughter, my son-in-law, and my wife.

LAURIE PEREZ: Carlos Hurtado is overwhelmed. He got the second shot of the COVID vaccine at Cal State LA today, so he can finally meet his grandson, Maddox, born in the middle of the pandemic.

CARLOS HURTADO: So now I get a chance to go fly back to Indiana and go see him.

LAURIE PEREZ: Looking for that kind of relief and opportunity, lots of Angelenos are getting vaccinated, on foot, in drive-throughs, and soon, from these Hondas that will become mobile labs headed throughout Watts and the Southland. And next week it'll be even easier as Johnson & Johnson will flood the country with supplies, shipping out 11 million doses nationwide.

ANNE RIMOIN: People who are concerned about having to come back for two shots will be much happier with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Again, it's a one and done vaccine, that's really great news.

LAURIE PEREZ: Convenient, easy to work, with experts say the Johnson & Johnson vax will help get more shots in arms, especially as demand is about to crush the state system. In two waves, starting April 1, people aged 50 plus, and then on April 15, everyone over 16, will be able to get vaccinated. Health leaders are asking you to be patient if you can't pre-schedule an appointment or find one in the first week. And they're warning, don't fall for anyone who says you can pay them for a spot or a shot.

PAUL SIMON: If someone offers to sell you an appointment to be vaccinated, it's a scam. If someone is offering you a vaccination card that has a cost, please know that this is a scam.

LAURIE PEREZ: The federally run vaccine supersite at Cal State LA will switch to only the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the next two weeks, and then it was announced today, it will close. LA County is working on a plan to reassign the site and keep it going. Meanwhile, today Mayor Garcetti toured the tiny Kedren vax site that's become a model of equity, saying the city's vaccination success is rooted in South LA.

ERIC GARCETTI: If you live in this zip code, you can rest assured you'll get priority. If you don't have internet access, we'll sign you up on site. All those barriers that keep people of color from getting what they deserve are completely knocked down here at Kedren.

LAURIE PEREZ: Again, the county is working on a plan to either have the city take over this site here at Cal State LA or have the county manage it as one of the area's major vaccination centers. In East LA, I'm Laurie Perez, KCAL 9 News.