At a regular West Hollywood city council meeting on Monday, November 6, 2023, the City Council will consider directing staff to organize community vaccination clinics in West Hollywood in collaboration with the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH).
City Staff reports that after nearly two years of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the viral disease continues to circulate within communities. As immunity to COVID-19 diminishes over time, receiving the updated vaccine offers maximum protection against severe illness, hospitalization, long-term COVID complications, and death from the virus. The revised vaccine has been deemed safe and provides effective defense against severe illness resulting from current COVID-19 variants. The City of West Hollywood considers it crucial to ensure vaccine accessibility for its residents, particularly prioritizing older adults, pregnant individuals, and those with underlying or chronic health conditions who are more susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19.
Many respiratory viruses, such as influenza (flu), COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), circulate year-round in the US and California, with increased activity during the fall and winter seasons (October – March). These viruses can cause cold or flu-like symptoms and pose more serious threats to certain individuals. They are primarily transmitted through direct or indirect contact with infected persons. The flu vaccine is updated annually to offer optimal protection against new variants. Most recently, the COVID-19 vaccine was adapted in response to a prevalent community-wide variant. Staying current on both vaccinations is a safe and effective means of preventing severe illness and hospitalization, and individuals can receive vaccinations for both simultaneously.
At present, the Department of Public Health (DPH) manages two vaccination sites that offer walk-in services or appointments. These sites provide COVID-19 and flu vaccines, distribute test kits, offer enrollment services, implement a test-to-treat program, and administer MPOX vaccines. However, both locations, situated at Obregon Park in Los Angeles and Ted Watkins Memorial Park, are located over 10 miles from West Hollywood, necessitating extensive travel for West Hollywood community members.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of West Hollywood has taken various measures, including emergency executive orders, urgency ordinances, and resolutions, to mitigate the pandemic’s effects. Collaborating with DPH to offer vaccines for COVID-19, the flu, and RSV represents the next step in safeguarding the health and safety of the entire West Hollywood community. Promoting public health services and disseminating vaccine information remains critical for the city to ensure the well-being of all community members. These clinics also align with the City Council’s proposed direction to support DPH’s vaccine advertising and marketing campaign.
This proposal calls for the City of West Hollywood, DPH, and LA County District 3 Supervisor Horvath’s office to collaborate in promoting vaccine awareness and education and providing two convenient and safe locations for community members to access these vaccines.
As demonstrated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare accessibility is pivotal in ensuring the well-being of all community members, particularly those from marginalized groups. Ensuring access to life-saving vaccines reinforces West Hollywood’s commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of its entire community, a core value of the city. West Hollywood has consistently been at the forefront of providing essential healthcare to residents, and offering community clinics for vaccines embodies and realizes that commitment.
Community Vaccination Clinics:
This proposal instructs City Legislative Analyst (CLA) and Health and Safety (HS) divisions staff to collaborate with LA County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath’s office and LA County’s DPH to establish two community clinics, one on the Eastside and one on the Westside of West Hollywood, allowing residents easy access to COVID-19 booster shots and seasonal flu vaccines within close proximity to their homes.