LA County addressing vaccine disparities in hard-hit communities

L.A. County will see a dip in its supply of doses next week due to what is expected to be a temporary shortfall in availability of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shots.

Video Transcript

- The effort to vaccinate the community accelerates with churches now becoming part of the strategy to beat the virus.

- But next week, a new challenge as supplies for one of the vaccines available is expected to drop. Eyewitness News reporter correspondent Carlos Granda joins us live with the latest. Carlos?

CARLOS GRANDA: Well, the good news is the numbers are still going in the right direction. For example, the number of hospitalizations now dropped to 503 in the last 24 hours in LA County. It was about 600 just a week ago. This, as officials are trying to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. St. Patrick's church in South Los Angeles is reaching out to the community. This area has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, with nearly 70,000 positive cases and more than 1,000 deaths.

MARIO CHAVEZ: And it's very important that we all get vaccinated. We're all eager to get back to our regular lives, and the only way we're going to get back to some level of normalcy is if we all get vaccinated, we all do our part.

CARLOS GRANDA: The church is a congregation of about 3,000 families. It's been part of the community since the 1920s, and church officials say it is very important for those families to have access to vaccinations.

SANDRA OLMEDO: This has been weeks in the making. We're very, very excited to have people here. We thought that it was really important to bring the vaccines to the community, instead of sending the community out to the vaccines.

CARLOS GRANDA: This comes as the allocation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is falling by 85% next week according to the CDC. Only about 785,000 doses are expected nationwide, compared to 5 million this week. There was a problem with a plant in Baltimore that had issues manufacturing the vaccine.

PAUL SIMON: This is a national phenomenon. But we felt the effect here early next week. And we really sort of live week-to-week with what we know about the allocations. We've not really gotten sort of a longer time horizon.

CARLOS GRANDA: Now, vaccinations open up to anyone over the age of 16 on April 15th, but now Pfizer is asking for authorization to use the vaccine in adolescents-- those who are 12 to 15 years old. And that could open it up to millions more people and make it easier to reopen schools in the fall.