Teachers in Los Angeles County will be able to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, as part of a wave of essential workers who are newly eligible to get vaccinated.
In addition to educators, child care and emergency service workers, law enforcement and food and agriculture workers are also newly eligible, which translates into roughly 1.2 million newly approved people in LA County.
Health officials warned that vaccinating everyone will take time, given the size of the new pool combined with people from previously approved groups who have not yet received vaccines.
"It will take considerable time to vaccinate these groups, unless vaccine supply significantly increases,'' said Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for LA County's Department of Public Health.
"We urge the public's patience as we work through this process as quickly as possible," he said.
While many of this week's shots are set aside for people who are receiving their second jab, 103,000 doses will be allocated to specific groups, with 35.8% going to people 65 and older; 27.6% going to food, agriculture and grocery workers; 30.3% going to educators and child care workers; and 6.2% going to emergency services and law enforcement.
"This allocation is proportional to the size of the population in each sector as well as the size of the unvaccinated 65-plus population in the county,'' according to Simon.
In order to get a vaccine, workers will have to show proof of their employment, such as an employee badge, a pay stub with an address or other type of official license.
The vaccine expansion comes after a back-and-forth battle in Los Angeles over reopening schools for in-person instruction. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines say schools should be able to safely do at least some in-person learning with proper mitigation measures, LA's teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles, wants teachers to be vaccinated or provided access to vaccination before they go back to the classroom.
What to know about the coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
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