Today, the City of Long Beach announced that COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline healthcare workers have begun. Brandon Gatling, a registered nurse at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, was among the first in Long Beach to receive the lifesaving vaccine. He serves as a clinical nurse lead who works with COVID patients, placing him in Tier 1 of Phase 1a in the City’s vaccine rollout plan, which includes acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, paramedics and EMTs and dialysis centers. The dose is the first of a two-dose regimen to protect against the virus.
“These vaccines give us hope that we can defeat COVID-19,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “But we all also need to continue to adhere to health orders, stay home as much as possible and wear our masks.”
Vaccines play an important role in keeping an individual healthy by preparing the body’s immune system to recognize germs and fight infection. Information related to the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccine rollout plan are available on the City’s website.
The Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) is managing the vaccine distribution process in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State and have been working closely with area hospitals to expedite distribution.
On December 10, the City announced its plan for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Long Beach area hospital workers are among the critical populations with access to the vaccine in the initial phase. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended prioritizing those who are at highest risk of infection, like our hospital workers and other frontline workers, to benefit the entire community.
Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine and doses of the vaccine were rapidly shipped throughout the country. Long Beach will receive up to 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and officials expect up to 11,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine will follow.
“We are optimistic about the positive impact that vaccines will have eventually, but it’s paramount that right now we continue to wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, wash hands frequently and refrain from gathering to reduce spread of the virus until we get enough people vaccinated to see the full effect,” said Long Beach City Health Officer Dr. Anissa Davis.
Administration of the vaccine to the general public is expected in early summer 2021.
COVID-19 continues to be transmitted in Long Beach and anyone who is experiencing symptoms or has been exposed to the virus is encouraged to get tested. Tests may be scheduled online or by calling the City’s information line, 562.570.INFO (4636), between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays. Appointments are required and can be made up to three days in advance.
As of Dec. 18, 24,622 Long Beach residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Approximately 18,219 have recovered and 311 residents have died from the virus.
For the latest information on COVID-19, with details on all that the City of Long Beach is doing to keep our residents safe, visit longbeach.gov/COVID19 and follow @LongBeachCity on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.