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Officials administering Moderna vaccines to healthcare workers at COVID-19 testing sites across Los Angeles County have allowed people who are not healthcare workers to get vaccinated.

Healthcare workers had to face long lines at four different sites provided by Los Angeles’s city due to the high demand of those wanting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine early. Crowds of people trying to receive the first dose of the vaccine have made it harder for healthcare workers to access the vaccination. 

Last Monday, a Los Angeles Times reporter saw how nearly 100 people were accepted for immunizations at a South Los Angeles vaccination site without proof of employment within the healthcare industry. 

Since then, officials resolved the issue and began requiring a photo identification card and employment documentation within the healthcare industry.

On Tuesday, at the Crenshaw Christian Center vaccination center, a Los Angeles Fire Department employee turned away crowds of people waiting in line for a vaccine because they could not provide proof of employment within the healthcare industry.

USC pharmacist, Richard Dang, spoke to the Los Angeles Times, saying that most of the people turned away from the immunization sites are seniors who are at higher risk.

 “It’s been a major issue,” Dang told the Times. “It’s been tough.”

Although seniors and those with underlying health conditions are the first to get vaccinated after healthcare workers, the time frame for these vaccinations are unknown. It could take months before the vaccines reach this tier of people.

In California, healthcare workers are the first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine. There are approximately 2.4 million healthcare workers in California, and the state received only 327,000 doses in the first batch. It could take months before the vaccines are available for seniors and those with underlying health conditions.

Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, is working with the Los Angeles county’s Department of Health to open additional vaccination sites across the city for healthcare workers.

However, they were not verifying healthcare employment, causing crowds of people to show up for an early vaccine dose. Last week, people could easily register for a vaccination, but as of Tuesday, these vaccine sites are using a county and state website to verify healthcare workers. 

The Los Angeles Times interviewed a woman who registered for the vaccination but was denied upon arrival. There was a question asking if she was a healthcare worker in which she responded “no,” but she was still able to register for her vaccine. The online registration process can be confusing since vaccines are only for healthcare workers but allow anyone to register.

Written ByLauren Akabori

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