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Coronavirus

Coronavirus US: where are the mass vaccination centres in California?

Two new mass vaccination sites will open this month in the golden state, a measure aimed to kickstart numbers and boost racial equality in covid-19 care.

Update:
Coronavirus US: where are the mass vaccination centres in California?
IRFAN KHANAFP

New vaccination centres are to open this month in the heart of two urban California communities especially hard hit by the coronavirus, as state and federal officials try to tackle racial and economic disparities hindering US immunisation efforts.

Where will the mass vaccination centres be in California?

Joint plans to launch the two sites on 16 February, at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum in Oakland and the California State University campus in east Los Angeles, were detailed separately on Wednesday by Governor Gavin Newsom and the Biden administration’s coronavirus response coordinator, Jeff Zients.

The two sites, which the state’s Department of Health said will be capable of administering several thousand shots per day each, mark the first of more than 100 such vaccination centres expected to be established in communities of colour across the United States, according to Newsom.

“Equity is the call of this moment,” Newsom told reporters outside the Oakland coliseum. “The reason this site was chosen was the framework of making sure that communities that are often left behind are not left behind.”

The two vaccination centres opening in Oakland and Los Angeles will be staffed and equipped largely by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), setting them apart from existing county-run inoculation sites.

“These (FEMA) sites in California are just the beginning,” Zients told reporters. “We are working with, in partnership in states across the country, to stand up new sites.”

US healthcare, covid-19 and racial inequality

Black and Hispanic populations, which are overly represented among the working poor and accounting for a large share of high-risk jobs in food service, factories, warehouses and healthcare, have been ravaged by the pandemic.

They also suffer disproportionately from chronic underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease that put them at higher risk of severe illness if infected by the coronavirus.

Their risk of exposure and the risk of transmitting the virus to others, is further amplified by rampant overcrowded housing in the greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay areas, where multi-generational households frequently live in cramped conditions.

Covid-19 in the US: cases still soaring

The United States has reported 26.5 million known coronavirus infections to date, with nearly 450,000 proving fatal as of Wednesday.

President Joe Biden last month branded the nation’s covid-19 immunisation launch a “dismal failure,” citing what he called a lack of detailed planning by the Trump administration that left the states to largely fend for themselves.

Biden has vowed to accelerate immunizations, with a focus on ensuring equitable access.

The United States has administered over 32 million doses of the covid-19 vaccine so far, according to a Reuters tally. Newsom said California is averaging more than 1 million shots weekly and would increase that pace.

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