By Dafna Erana and Jamie Martinez
COVID-19 vaccines have come to Northeast Los Angeles.
From now through March 6, eligible residents of Council District 14 can get vaccinated at the L.A. Police Museum in Highland Park.
You are eligible to be vaccinated if you are 65 years of age or older or are locally employed in the essential sectors of health care, food, education (teachers and school staff), child care, agriculture and emergency services.
To make an appointment, call the office of Kevin de León, city councilmember for CD-14, at 323-254-5295 or email the NELA Area Rep for CD-14, Alice Roth, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Appointments are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Walks ups are accepted from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Residents must provide proof of eligibility and residency to secure an appointment and a vaccine.
The transformation of the police museum into a temporary vaccination site is part of the effort to deliver vaccines directly to neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. Currently, some of the lowest vaccination rates are in neighborhoods with the highest COVID-19 case rates — generally those with predominantly Latinx and Black residents.
“We need the vaccines to come into our low-income neighborhoods because they’re the ones who are being devastated right now,” said De León, noting that mobile vaccination sites such as the one in Highland Park have also operated in the CD-14 community of Boyle Heights.
“Super sites, like Dodger Stadium and Cal State L.A. remain open for Angelenos to check their eligibility and schedule an appointment,” said De León. “However, I really want to underscore the importance of really getting in the community and doing mobile sites, along with our clinics.”
Neighborhood vaccination venues help low-income working people who may not have the flexibility, computer access or transportation to make and keep vaccine appointments at distant drive-up locales. A visible, organized venue in one’s own community is also helpful in overcoming “vaccine hesitancy,” a reluctance to be vaccinated that is often based in legacies of medical abuse or concern about legal status.
“There is a certain amount of vaccine hesitancy in the African American community for understandable reasons, considering the history we’ve had in this country,” said Dr. Kimberly Shriner, the medical infectious disease director of the coronavirus task force at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. “The Hispanic community has been a very persecuted population, especially in the last administration, with all the deportations and immigration issues. So, there are some issues there like, ‘If I go get a vaccine, does that mean they’re going to discover that I’m undocumented?’ ” The answer is “no,” said Dr. Shriner, because questions about immigration status are not asked. “But those are the things you have to address,” she said.
The CD 14 effort at the Police Museum will be followed by a local vaccination drive for NELA residents of CD 1, March 9 to March 13, sponsored by City Councilmember Gil Cedillo. For details, including registration and location information, call the office of CD-1 at 213-473-7001.
Dafna Erana, a senior at Occidental College, and Jamie Martinez, a sophomore at Occidental, are participants in the NELA Neighborhood Reporting Partnership, a collaboration between the Boulevard Sentinel and The Occidental campus newspaper.