Wesson Calls For Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccinations to High-risk Populations

Wesson Calls For Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccinations to High-risk Populations

Wesson calls for a plan to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations when available to high-risk populations 

LOS ANGELES –  Councilmember Herb Wesson is calling for the City of Los Angeles to develop a plan to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines to communities of color, high-risk populations, children, the unhoused and “essential” workers once a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine becomes available.

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, effective allocation and administration of the vaccine will play a significant role in reducing its spread throughout communities, particularly the communities of color that have been hardest hit by the virus. Although the goal of any vaccine is to immunize all persons who choose to be vaccinated, the initial supply may not be sufficient to accomplish this goal.

Recognizing that demand may exceed supply, Wesson’s motion, seconded by Council President Martinez, asks the City of Los Angeles to begin developing guidelines now to ensure that these vulnerable and high-risk communities have first access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We’ve honored these essential workers by clapping on our doorsteps and Thunderbird fly overs. But that’s not enough,” said Wesson. “The systemic economic and racial inequality has become clearer than ever during this crisis. We’ve seen our country’s inequality at play when the testing first began and wealthier communities received access before poorer communities of color.”

According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health data, on April 1st the highest rates of reported coronavirus infections were in wealthy areas of Los Angeles County such as Beverly Crest, Hancock Park, the City of West Hollywood, and Bel Air. Today those areas are considered to be the least infected. Less affluent areas in LA County such as Saugus, City of Industry, Vermont Square, and Florence-Firestone have in some areas eight times the case rate as Beverly Crest.

“We know what will happen if it’s a free-for-all,” said Wesson. “Those with privilege and access will be saved first. These Black, Latino, and API communities, vulnerable populations such as seniors, and essential workers must receive the vaccine first. Maybe this is the first step to righting these wrongs of the past. This is how we honor the people who have kept our country running.”

The motion, introduced today, would instruct the City of Los Angeles’ Emergency Management Department to work with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to coordinate and develop a vaccination plan.