If you’ve received your first coronavirus vaccine shot at a Los Angeles County site and are waiting on the second, check your email this week for a link to get an appointment.
Many should have already received an email by Monday afternoon confirming the location and date of their second dose appointment, and those who haven’t can expect to see one shortly, L.A. County public health director Barbara Ferrer said in a media briefing.
“The email allows them to register to confirm the time of the appointment,” she said. “Nobody else can use these links.”
More than 85,000 appointment slots have been reserved for second doses starting on Feb. 19, according to Ferrer.
Notifications are also being sent out to those who got their first shot at a site run by the city of L.A., pharmacy or health clinic, Ferrer said.
“All vaccination sites receive enough second doses each week to schedule appointments for individuals who receive their first dose at their site,” she said.
Most people can expect to get their second dose at the same place they got their first.
The exception is for those who got vaccinated at two county-run sites that have now closed. Anyone who got their first shot at the Ritchie Valens Recreation Center will get their second at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino, and those who got their first shot at Hazard/Belvedere will get their second at the El Sereno Recreation Center.
Regulators recommend the second dose of Pfizer vaccine is administered about 21 days after the first, and it’s advised to wait 28 days for a second Moderna shot.
Ferrer said L.A. County officials are trying to get people in for their second shot as close to those benchmarks as possible. But she noted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said people can wait up to six weeks after the first dose to get their second.
“There’s no reason for people to be anxious about it because we are guaranteeing that when we get supply, it first goes to those second doses,” Ferrer said.
As of Jan. 25, the county had administered nearly 80% of the more than 990,000 vaccine doses it had received.
Data shows L.A. County has administered more doses of vaccine to date than any other large county or city in the U.S. But the overall pace of vaccinations remains slow because of limited supply.
“I do apologize for the many hardships that people have been experiencing trying to secure appointments,” Ferrer said, adding that the county is continuing to increase staffing at its appointment call center.
But the “biggest challenge remains not having enough vaccine for all of those eligible to be vaccinated,” she said.
The public health director said she’s hopeful there will be more widespread vaccine availability by March.
At some point over the next few months, L.A. County’s vaccine distribution efforts will fall under the statewide network being developed by Blue Shield of California. Ferrer said L.A. County will continue as a vaccine provider under that structure.
But until the new state system is in place, the local network consists of nearly 300 sites that include large-scale, publicly run centers; pharmacies; hospitals; and federally qualified health centers and clinics.