Biden administration names Cal State LA as COVID-19 community vaccination center

February 3, 2021

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Cal State LA will be the site of a new federal community COVID-19 vaccination center, President Joe Biden’s White House COVID-19 Response Team announced at a Wednesday briefing.

The federal government is partnering with the state of California to launch two new community vaccination centers, in East Oakland at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and on Cal State LA’s campus. The centers are part of the Biden administration’s effort to scale up COVID-19 vaccine distribution nationally.

“In the Eastside of Los Angeles, we will launch a large site on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients said during the Feb. 3 briefing. “This is one of the most diverse public universities in the country, serving a large Latino community.”

The new centers will be operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of California through the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

“Cal State LA is ready to work with President Joe Biden, Governor Gavin Newsom and their administrations to provide badly needed vaccinations,” said Cal State LA Provost and Executive Vice President José A. Gómez. “Our students and alumni live in communities with some of the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita in Los Angeles County.”

Cal State LA President William A. Covino noted that the vaccination site aligns with the university’s mission.

“Cal State LA has a long history of collaborating with and serving in the community,” Covino said. “We are dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Our role as a vaccination center is another example of that dedication. We are grateful to President Biden and Governor Newsom for this opportunity.”

The federal and state governments are working together to establish the centers, which are expected to open to eligible members of the public beginning Feb. 16. Registration for vaccination appointments will be available through the state’s MyTurn scheduling system in the coming days.

“In the fight against COVID-19, partnership is key, especially when it comes to reaching Californians in underserved areas,” Newsom said in an announcement. “These new sites will help us get available supply to some of the California communities most in need. I thank the Biden administration for standing with us as we continue our efforts to safely, swiftly and equitably vaccinate all Californians.”

The new vaccination centers will be paired with two mobile vaccination clinics that can be deployed to multiple locations to increase distribution to areas that otherwise lack sufficient support, the Governor’s office said.

“Establishing a large scale federal-state community vaccination center on the Cal State LA campus, in the heart of Los Angeles County and in a hard-hit community, is a welcome signal that we are ramping up at the federal, state and local level with the practical, boots-on-the-ground solutions we need to put an end to this deadly pandemic,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose First Supervisorial District includes the university.

Cal State LA serves communities that have been ravaged by the pandemic, including Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, much of South Los Angeles and communities in Southeast Los Angeles County.

“My district is home to communities of color, immigrant communities and essential workers on the frontlines of this health emergency who have and continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic," said U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, whose 34th Congressional District includes Cal State LA. "Infection and death rates are disproportionately higher among these communities, but the opening of this federal vaccination site reflects a steadfast commitment from local and federal authorities to prioritize vaccine equity and protect the most vulnerable among us.”

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, a Cal State LA alumna, also praised the new vaccination center.

“My family, like many in my district, has been impacted by COVID-19,” said Carrillo, whose 51st District includes the university. “The importance of this new vaccination site at Cal State LA, opened and resourced in direct partnership and coordination with President Biden’s administration, cannot be overstated.”

Cal State LA’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccination effort is part of the university’s We Are Healthy LA initiative, a collaboration with community partners to provide basic needs and help ensure health and safety during the pandemic.

Under the initiative, Cal State LA has worked with federal, state and local governments and organizations including the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, QueensCare Health Centers, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative to provide influenza vaccinations and distribute more than 120 tons of food to approximately 5,000 families in the Los Angeles area.

“We know from experience that collaboration is crucial to success,” Gómez of Cal State LA said. “Working together we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, ensure the health of our communities and end the suffering caused by the pandemic.”

Photo: Hundreds of people received free flu shots during a drive-thru clinic at Cal State LA in November 2020. The flu shot clinic and Cal State LA's participation in the COVID-19 vaccination effort are part of the university's We Are Healthy LA initiative, a collaboration with community partners to provide basic needs and help ensure health and safety during the pandemic. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.

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