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California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new pilot partnership with President Joe Biden’s administration to open community vaccination sites in Oakland and Los Angeles. The Wednesday press conference came as the state continues to grapple with a shoddy, confusing vaccine rollout.

Jeff Zients, who leads President Biden’s task force on COVID-19, said the initiative will help “two of the communities most hard hit by this pandemic.” One site will operate out of Cal State in LA and the other will be run out of the Oakland Coliseum.

He said both locations will be run in partnership with the state but staffed mostly by federal workers, including officials from Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“These sites in California are just the beginning,” Zients said.

The vaccination centers are part of the Biden administration’s effort to ramp up inoculations as new coronavirus variants emerge. California has struggled to deliver vaccines, and its initial efforts have been marred by confusion and snarls in the supply chain.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the new vaccination sites would help “safely, swiftly and equitably vaccinate all Californians.”

“In the fight against COVID-19, partnership is key, especially when it comes to reaching Californians in underserved areas,” Newsom said in a statement. “These new sites will help us get available supply to some of the California communities most in need.”

“In order to expand the reach of these state-federal sites further into the communities, each of these new sites will be paired with two mobile vaccination clinics which can be deployed to multiple locations to amplify and provide distribution to areas that otherwise lack sufficient support,” officials wrote.

The sites are expected to be up and running for eligible groups of people beginning Feb. 16 with registration for vaccine appointments available through the state’s MyTurn scheduling system in the coming days.

California has administered more than 3.5 million vaccine doses, according to federal statistics. With 8,969 out of 100,000 people receiving a shot, the state’s rate of progress ranks ahead of Texas but behind New York and Florida.

Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there were signs that the country was turning the corner on a crushing wave of infections that made this winter the deadliest stretch of the pandemic.

“The recent decline in hospitalizations give us hope that the number of deaths should start to decrease in the coming weeks,” she said.

Roughly 3,100 people nationwide have died of COVID-19 each day for the past week.

Watch the press conference below:

YouTube video

Contributor: LA Times

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