Supervisors OK planning for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Los Angeles County Seal.
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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave direction Tuesday that would allow Public Health officials to start a COVID-19 vaccination plan for residents when one becomes available. 

Supervisor Janice Hahn introduced the motion, which states that such a plan must be ready and ensure priority is given to those in targeted groups and underserved populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

“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 in a statement. “We need to start preparing now to receive, store, distribute and administer a vaccine so we don’t waste any time.”

The unanimous vote comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance to state public health officials for vaccination distribution planning purposes. 

Currently, there are 37 vaccines in clinical trials, three of which are in the third phase of trials, according to county officials, who added that phase three vaccines could become available as early as November. 

In the third phase, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety and many also follow a fourth phase, where they face ongoing studies after the vaccine is approved and licensed, according to the CDC’s website. 

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose 5th District includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said Tuesday that planning would need to include an educational program for transparency. 

“We’ve got to be prepared but we also need to educate our constituents about exactly what the vaccines are and what the flu shot is, quite frankly, and why the flu shot is important,” she said. 

Their vote instructs the Public Health Department to work with cities, community agencies and other county departments to develop the plan and present it before the board in 45 days.

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