California is trying to speed up its vaccination efforts, which have lagged amid the state’s struggle with a weekslong deluge of coronavirus cases that has led to some of the most dire consequences in the country.
Emergency rooms have had to shut their doors to ambulances for hours at a time. Nearly one in 10 people has tested positive for the virus in Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous. And a surge of hospitalizations has caused problems for the oxygen delivery and supply system used by medical facilities.
Over the past week, an average of 480 people daily have died of Covid-19 in the state, according to a New York Times database.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that California would employ an “all-hands-on-deck approach” to ramp up vaccinations.
The approach includes transforming Dodger Stadium from one of the nation’s biggest and most visible Covid-19 testing sites into a mass vaccination center. Petco Park, where the San Diego Padres play, and the state fairgrounds in Sacramento are also being set up as vaccination sites, the governor said.
The Orange County board of supervisors said on Monday that the county’s first of five planned “super” vaccination sites would open this week at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, which has been closed for much of the pandemic. Vaccinations will be available by appointment to everyone in “Phase 1a,” which includes frontline health care workers, paramedics, dentists and pharmacists.
Los Angeles County opened vaccine eligibility to a wider group of health care workers on Monday, allowing workers in facilities like primary care clinics, Covid-19 testing centers, laboratories, pharmacies and dental offices, as well as those who work with people who are homeless, to be vaccinated.
Previously, workers in hospitals and long-term-care facilities were prioritized. But as The Los Angeles Times reported, large numbers of health care workers in Los Angeles and Riverside Counties were declining to be inoculated.
And relatively few people in California have gotten vaccine doses, compared with other places: Only 2 percent of the state’s population has received a vaccine, according to a New York Times database; 782,638 doses out of the more than 2.8 million that the state has received have been administered.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said at a news conference on Monday that the state was working to distribute vaccines to those who need them and want them — without allowing wealthy people to cut the line.
Mr. Newsom said the state was allowing a broader range of workers to administer vaccines, including pharmacists and dentists, and was rolling out a public awareness campaign in 18 languages.
“People have said, ‘Well, what about sending in the National Guard?’” he said of the groups administering vaccines. “Well, we have the National Guard out there.”
He also said there were urgent efforts to “vaccinate the vaccinators.”