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Mobile vaccination clinic for L.A. County sheriff’s employees opens at Pomona Fairgrounds

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on Friday opened a mobile vaccination clinic for its employees.

The clinic at the Pomona Fairgrounds was the first in a series that will be offered to Sheriff’s Department employees, including sworn, professional and reserves staff, over the next few weeks, the department said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva appeared at the site Friday and urged employees to get vaccinated, saying that he had done so with no ill effects.

“I took two doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is being offered here today, and I feel great,” Villanueva said at a news conference.

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The shots were being given out by sheriff’s deputies who are also paramedics, EMTs or reserve doctors, freeing up Department of Public Health staff of the need to do so, said Chief Jack Ewell of the Special Operations Division.

“Because of that, the Department of Public Health now can move towards the larger goal of the Sheriff’s Department and others, and that’s to get the vaccine into our underserved communities where the COVID virus is currently at its peak,” Ewell said.

A total of 2,907 Sheriff’s Department employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, representing nearly 17% of its 17,500-member workforce. Twelve have died from COVID-19.

Although first responders and law enforcement became eligible to be vaccinated at L.A. County sites March 1, some sheriff’s personnel who are considered emergency medical services workers already received the vaccine during the first distribution wave.

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The Sheriff’s Department recently put together a video for employees to educate them about the vaccine, Villanueva said. That comes after some other law enforcement and emergency services agencies have reported hesitation among their ranks when it comes to getting vaccinated.

Los Angeles firefighters became the first city workers eligible to receive the vaccination in late December. But despite an incentive program that offers prizes to firefighters who volunteer for the shots, only 55% had chosen to do so by Feb. 1, according to the department. Similarly, an informal survey of the Los Angeles Police Department last month found that only 60% of respondents said they were ready to get a vaccine.