header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 19
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander

| Monday, Feb 1, 2021
California Governor Gavin Newsom discusses the state’s vaccine rollout at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles on January 15, 2021. | Photo: Courthouse News Service.


LOS ANGELES — The abbreviated history of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County began with a head start and ended with a game of catch-up to vaccinate 10 million residents.

After several months of bending the curve of new infections in early 2020, L.A. became the nation’s epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. As 2021 dawned, the county’s massive testing system gradually shifted its focus — like turning a giant ship — to vaccination for health care workers and seniors 65 and older.

In record time, large-scale immunization sites went up to meet the new demand to vaccinate as residents hoped the vaccine heralded the final phase of the yearlong turmoil. But federal bottlenecks and local mismanagement have tripped up the vaccination process.

“We’re definitely seeing progress, which is to say we’re nowhere near where we need to be,” said Dr. Shira Shafir, associate professor of community health sciences and epidemiology at UCLA. “There is optimism that the pace of vaccinations is speeding up. The Biden administration will give a three-week visibility on vaccine availability instead of one week and additional steps are being made. But we have to balance that optimism with a healthy dose of realism.”

So far, L.A. County has received around 800,000 vaccine doses for its 10 million residents. Along with five mega vaccination sites, people can be inoculated at more than 150 other locations along with pharmacies, community clinics, and health centers. But vaccinations are being administered in a slow drip due to a global shortage that has frustrated many.

“Getting the vaccine to all residents who want it — regardless of income, immigration status, or transportation mode — is a high priority and something we are working urgently to address,” an L.A. County Emergency Operations spokesperson said. “We deeply apologize for any inconvenience and we are grateful for the public’s patience as we ramp up to meet the need.”

Like many things during the pandemic, much of that inconvenience and frustration to vaccinate starts online. Most vaccination appointments must be made on the internet in short windows, and securing a slot has taken on the frenzy of trying to win concert tickets from a radio show.

On Thursday, county health officials said 25,000 appointments to vaccinate were available. They filled up in two hours.

This week, resident Candice Kim managed to snag two appointments for elderly neighbors who do not speak English after securing appointments for her parents.

Kim, a health education specialist and project director with a group aimed at transforming the global trade system, acknowledges she’s able to secure vaccination slots because she’s working from home during the pandemic. Slots open up with little notice online and Kim nabbed two for her neighbors. Unfortunately, appointments were at two locations on two different days and her neighbors lacked the strength to go to both locations in the same week.

Still, Kim remains on a mission to help as many seniors until more vaccines become available.

“I’m going to keep adopting a new, non-English speaking, non-internet connected 65 and older to find appointments for until we get them all done,” Kim said. “I feel like we should all be in an emergency mobilization to help seniors over the digital divide so they can get appointments.”

The digital hoops to get an appointment can seem daunting, especially for seniors who may not understand what an SMS alert is or how to monitor the online activities of a health agency.

Kim set a text message alert for the county Department of Public Health Twitter account on the off chance the agency announces new appointments to vaccinate.

“Today, when DPH sent out a tweet that there was a small number of openings, I ran so fast to my computer that my husband thought something had gone wrong,” she said.

Kim and her father waited 90 minutes at Dodger Stadium to get his vaccine and the check-in person greeted them in Korean. She’ll take her mother next.

Unlike others who see this next phase of the pandemic as another challenge, Kim is more practical.

“I think DPH is doing all they can. We could complain or we could pitch in,” Kim said. “We have a choice — this is my choice.”

But even with the arrival of the vaccine, the most complicated and radical variable in the pandemic remains: human behavior. Because for any of this to work, health officials must convince a fatigued populace that after a year of masks, physical distancing, and the tremendous sacrifices residents made in 2020 that the virus did not go away.

And the vaccine could become just another piece of background noise for communities hardest hit by the virus. The latest data from LA County Public Health shows that small pockets of the county are seeing far fewer vaccinations than more affluent neighborhoods. Essentially, the communities that need the vaccine the most — low-income residents and people of color who work essential jobs and lack access to easy and affordable health care — are either not being reached by the marketing or are unable to get appointments online.

Besides the online component and scarce resources to vaccinate, cultural barriers exist for low-income communities of color.

“One interesting thing are the concerns among Latino communities about coming together,” said Dr. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, associate dean for Community Initiatives at USC’s Keck School of Medicine in a phone interview. Baezconde-Garbanati conducts research on how people will respond to health messaging regarding the virus and vaccine.

“There was a concern from someone in one of our focus groups who was worried about creating a new generation isolated from their family,” Baezconde-Garbanati said. “And to them, it’s not negotiable for some families. Instead of telling them to not get together, we need to focus the messaging on how to get together safely, because they’re going to get together regardless.”

To appeal to Latinos, the messaging might involve getting immunized for their elderly abuelo, for the kids, and the rest of the family, rather than for themselves.

For the Black community, the messaging will be different and may be more effective when it comes from faith-based leaders, said Baezconde-Garbanati.

In a region as diverse as L.A. County, with multiple languages and different groups with different sets of beliefs, the argument for the vaccine will necessarily rely on different talking points.

“The messaging will have to be segmented,” said Baezconde-Garbanati. “In my lectures, I tell students that you can give a child with asthma their medication. But you send them back into an environment that is overcrowded or they might be facing other poor living conditions. You need to be aware of those conditions.

“It’s important to understand people’s stories. Who they are? What their lives are like? So you can treat the person and not the disease.”

— By Nathan Solis, CNS

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Alvin says:

    Of all the COVID risk factors, the top are:
    Old, pre-existing conditions and male
    Would like to see us follow the science versus reflexive ‘people of color’. Where is the focus on men…science shows quite clearly that white-brown-black men are at much higher risk. Not very woke, but very science

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022
Wednesday COVID Roundup: Positivity Rates in Schools See Decline
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 59 additional deaths and 30,081 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 61,584 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022
International Property Management Group Acquires Local Apartment Community
Harbor Group International, LLC and Azure Partners, LLC  announced earlier this month, their joint venture for the acquisition of Jefferson Vista Canyon, a 480-unit, Class A apartment community in Santa Clarita.
Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022
Missing Santa Clarita Man Found
A Santa Clarita man originally reported missing on Jan. 16 has been located, Sheriff officials said Wednesday. 
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 59 additional deaths and 30,081 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 61,584 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID Roundup: Positivity Rates in Schools See Decline
Harbor Group International, LLC and Azure Partners, LLC  announced earlier this month, their joint venture for the acquisition of Jefferson Vista Canyon, a 480-unit, Class A apartment community in Santa Clarita.
International Property Management Group Acquires Local Apartment Community
The College of the Canyons Spring 2022 semester begins  Feb. 7, and those looking for the classes needed to upgrade their skills, or transfer to a four-year university, still have time to register. 
College of the Canyons: Now is the Time to Register for Spring Semester
A Santa Clarita man originally reported missing on Jan. 16 has been located, Sheriff officials said Wednesday. 
Missing Santa Clarita Man Found
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced that they will be hosting a free PPE drive which will provide KN95 masks, surgical masks and hand sanitizer to local chamber members.
SCV Chamber Announces Free PPE Drive For Members
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the release of a Request for Proposals to solicit independent researchers to conduct the Aliso Canyon Disaster Health Research Study.
Public Health Calls For Independent Research Into Aliso Canyon Health Study
More than twenty years ago I led the animal control division for an agency in northern California, and at one point we received a series of complaints from students at a local community college regarding a fellow student’s emotional support animal (ESA).
Marcia Mayeda: Protecting Service Animals
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 45 additional deaths and 22,688 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 60,980 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday Covid Roundup: Omicron Continues to Surge as ICU Admissions Rise in LA County
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is hiring. This summer, the department aims to hire over 250 new lifeguards to work at 30 aquatic facilities, all across L.A. County.
LA County Department of Parks, Recreation Seeks to Hire Over 250 Lifeguards
Due to L.A. County Department of Public Health restrictions and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the city of Santa Clarita "regretfully" is announcing the cancellation of the 2022 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, reported Santa Clarita PIO Carrie Lujan in a statement released to the press.
Santa Clarita 2022 Cowboy Festival Cancelled
With COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County at high levels, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) will temporarily pause in-person services starting Tuesday, Jan. 18.
LA County DCBA Temporarily Pausing In-Person Services
Put your knowledge to the test with Winter Games Trivia on the second day of Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022.
Feb. 3 Winter Games Trivia Contest at The Cube
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee voted to accept the results of an independent audit confirming the district properly accounted for all bond expenditures in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
COC Citizens Oversight Committee Affirms Audits of College Bond Spending
Fred Gruchalla, a veteran of the Vietnam War, received the 2020-2021 Veteran of the Year Award from the Van Nuys/Reseda Elks Lodge 2790 on Jan. 10.
Fred Gruchalla, Veterans’ Advocate, Named Veteran of the Year
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is now accepting applications for the annual Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund Scholarship. Deadline is March 30, 2022.
Zonta SCV Accepting Applications for Wrage Scholarship
A 7,383 square foot freestanding office building located at 28015 Smyth Drive in Valencia recently sold for $2,675,000.00 announced Executive Vice President Randy Cude and Vice President Matt Sreden of Spectrum Commercial Real Estate, Inc.
Smyth Drive Office Building in Highridge Business Park Sells for Over $2.6M
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
Saugus Cafe
Impulse Music Co., which is located at 21515 Soledad Canyon Road, Suite #120, is hosting an Open Mic Night free to all ages, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Impulse Music Hosting Open Mic Night
The Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees will hold a virtual business meeting and public hearing via Zoom Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 19: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Governing Board will hold its regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 19, beginning with a closed session at 5:45 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 19: Hart School District’s Regular Meeting
Whether you’ve just finished an ice skating lesson, are watching a youth hockey game or want to take a break during a public session, The Grille at The Cube is the perfect place to unwind with a delicious meal or snack.
SCV’s Newest Dining Spot Opens at The Cube
The city of Santa Clarita's Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 18: Planning Commission Regular Meeting
LOS ANGELES (CN) — A lawsuit by two environmental groups to stop the enormous and controversial Tejon Ranch Centennial Project can continue, a Los Angeles County judge ruled Friday, despite a recent settlement in a related case.
Judge Advances Environmental Suit Against Massive Centennial Project
%d bloggers like this: