Congressman Gomez Calls for Cal State L.A. Vaccination Site to Remain Open

LOS ANGELES – Today, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) renewed his call for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to continue operating the Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at California State University, Los Angeles amid the rising threat of a fourth wave of COVID-19.

“Despite the swift pace with which the Biden administration has vaccinated 100 million Americans, our nation is still at grave risk of another wave of this deadly virus,” said Congressman Gomez. “The vaccination center at Cal State L.A. is nothing short of essential in maintaining an equitable vaccine distribution for underserved Angelenos. Vaccination rates in Boyle Heights and East L.A. – two communities best served by this center and hit hardest by the pandemic – are still lagging behind that of Los Angeles as a whole. While progress is being made, I have deep concerns that prematurely closing this vaccination site would undercut our collective efforts to overcome this public health crisis, particularly at a time when we must be prioritizing the health needs of our low-income communities and constituents of color.”

On March 25, Congressman Gomez sent a letter to Acting FEMA Administrator Robert Fenton, urging the agency to either extend its mission at Cal State L.A. or support local operation of the CVC by maintaining the site’s federal allotment of COVID-19 vaccines along with infrastructure and personnel.

With the ability to administer more than 6,000 doses per day, the CVC at Cal State L.A. has been critical to vaccinating those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 67 percent of the doses provided by the two CVCs in California were for underserved communities and people of color.

FEMA has indicated it will continue to provide support in the form of funding and personnel to the Cal State L.A. CVC. However, the direct federal supply of vaccines to the facility will cease on April 11. 

To read a PDF of Congressman Gomez’s letter to FEMA, please click here.

The full text of the letter can also be found below:

Dear Mr. Fenton:

I write to express my deep concern over recent communications from the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) indicating the agency intends to close the Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at California State University, Los Angeles on April 13. Failure to maintain current vaccine supply in the area at this juncture could result in more harm to communities already bearing the brunt of this national public health and economic crisis. I respectfully request that FEMA extend operations or assist local officials in keeping the CVC open by maintaining the federal vaccine supply and providing infrastructure and personnel support until at least May 1, 2021.

The opening of the FEMA vaccination site at Cal State Los Angeles represented a significant milestone in the COVID-19 response for Angelenos in the 34th Congressional District. The site targets hard-hit communities — people who are low-income, communities of color, immigrant communities, and frontline essential workers. It also targets vulnerable communities with lack of transportation or mobility issues.

The CVC at Cal State Los Angeles is capable of administering 6,000 doses per day, and because it receives vaccine supplies directly from the federal government, its operations are a vital supplement to doses being administered by the county and state. Although we have made significant strides in implementing an equity strategy, supply shortages continue to get in the way of access for communities surrounding the site. As of March 12, 2021, only 17.8% of the East LA population and 17.3% of the Boyle Heights population have been vaccinated compared to approximately 30% of the population in Los Angeles. Reducing vaccine supply during an already critical time is alarming and could result in an even greater vaccine deficit.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss my request with you personally. The lives of vulnerable communities are hanging in the balance and action must be taken to prevent more inequitable harm from occurring.

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