Los Angeles County has seen rapid decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccines. It’s a trend that mirrors much of the country. It’s worrying experts. And it’s contributing to the closure of mass vaccination sites like the one at Dodger Stadium. That site will shutter by the end of May.
County health officials said Thursday that first-time doses at county-run clinics had declined by 50%. The county has missed its goal of administering 95% of its weekly supply for the first time. Some 18% of residents have also missed their appointment for the second dose.
City-run clinics are seeing a similar drop, Deputy Mayor Jeff Gorell told the Los Angeles Times. He added that the closure of the Dodger Stadium site will “allow us to maintain vaccine capacity and spread it out city-wide.”
The city has begun transitioning to a walk-in appointment system. The county has too.
“All of our sites will continue to just take anybody who shows up, even if they don’t have an appointment,” County Public Health Officer Barbara Ferrer said. “I think the strategy moving forward for all of us is going to be to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated. And for some, that’s going to mean that we’re going to bring the vaccine close to where you already are at — if you’re at a shopping center; if you’re at a church or a mosque; if you’re at a school.”
She called the slowed demand for vaccines "very concerning."
What accounts for the trend? Vaccine hesitancy, lack of access, and diminishing returns, as most of those individuals who are eager to get the vaccine have done so already.
A Times Analysis found just 45% of residents are now partially vaccinated and over 30% have completed their vaccines. Those numbers are 48.2% and 29.9% at the state level.
It seems like just yesterday our biggest problem was demand outpacing supply. Be careful what you wish for.
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