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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Pierce College becomes largest testing and vaccine site in the San Fernando Valley

More than a dozen cars lined Victory Boulevard Tuesday morning as residents waited for the opening of a new vaccination site at Pierce College. 

Pierce, in partnership with the Los Angeles Fire Department and Carbon Health,is the city’s sixth super-site to open. The site expects to vaccinate about 3,000 people a day with the Moderna dose. Pierce also doubles as a COVID-19 testing center. 

Those eligible to be vaccinated must have appointments and can register through the Carbon Health website.

LAFD’s Public Information Officer David Ortiz said that he hopes residents throughout the county are aware of the different vaccination sites opening near them.

“A lot of people have the tendency to go to Dodger Stadium because that’s the most well known site,”Ortiz said. “We want to bring awareness that these vaccination sites are available in most areas of Los Angeles.”

Dodger Stadium, as well as a couple of other vaccination sites in the area, experienced vaccine shortages last week. 

“We have people from different organizations ramping up their ability to vaccinate the public,”  Ortiz said. “It’s a big, combined effort with different people managing their sites separately, but we all get the vaccines from the same source.”

While Dodger Stadium’s vaccination site is a drive-through operation, Pierce’s is a walk-in. 

 

Sign directs traffic to the vaccination area at Pierce College’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination center in Woodland Hills on Feb. 16. Photo by Benjamin Hanson.

Audrey Hensley, one of the site’s staff members, said that it felt less stressful to have the site smaller and organized this way.

 

“The fire department kept our numbers low so we could work out some of the kinks in the system,” Hensley said. “We have more little segments here. [The site] is more filtered. As long as the vaccine supply keeps coming, we’ll be able to keep vaccinating people.”

Hensley also said that she believes in the effectiveness of the vaccine and that the only way to get over the COVID-19 pandemic is to get enough people vaccinated. 

With more vaccination sites opening, the public can expect the vaccine to be more accessible to them, according to Ortiz.

Catrina Payne, a registered nurse also working at the site, added that the process felt more efficient and effective.

“There’s a pre-check in, which is helpful because the other sites don’t do all of the computer stuff,” Payne said. “When the patient comes here, it’s just a lot quicker and they appreciate that because they’re not sitting in their cars waiting for a really long time.”

Pierce College President Alexis Montevirgen said that allowing the city to operate a vaccine site at the college meant a lot to him.

“This is something that we’re committed to as a college in terms of making sure we are of service, not just for our students but for our community,” Montevirgen said.

Though the site is only administering the Moderna doses, Ortiz said that he is encouraging people to get the vaccine when they can, whether they’re the Moderna or the Pfizer doses.

“The vaccines are safe and they protect people’s families and the people that they love,” Ortiz said. “As a society, we need to make sure we are not just thinking of ourselves, but everybody else too.”

 

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