Dennis Anderson

On the vaccination front in the Antelope Valley, it looks like things are finally beginning to move in a healthy direction.

My employer, High Desert Medical Group, is receiving shipments of the vaccine and is taking appointments for our patients who are above the age of 65 — and we have thousands such people in need of the best defense against the COVID-19 virus, which has passed the half-million mark in COVID-related deaths and persists as a dangerous, lethal scourge. 

Last week, nearly a thousand of our patients received their first dose and appointments for patients continue this week.

Deaths and hospitalizations have dropped recently in Los Angeles County, which until recently, was the epicenter of the pandemic in California, with more than 21,000 deaths accounting for nearly 40% of the total deaths in the nation’s most populous state. Even with deaths going down and the incredible strain on local hospitals and their staffs relenting some, the nation’s most populous county remains in the “purple” coded zone — a murky color-coding system that just means the county’s infection rate remains ugly.

We must take progress where we find it. The largest-scaled development is that Monday appointments will open for a mass vaccination site at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds — orchestrated from a partnership by Kaiser Permanente and the City of Lancaster.

The City reports that more than 1,700 people received vaccinations in Lancaster at the Wesley Health Center, flowing from an initiative by Supervisor Kathryn Barger, chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Before the election to succeed Mike Antonovich, she was his health deputy in the 5th District, which includes the Antelope Valley.

Vaccine distribution is handled by the Los Angeles County Public Health department. Visit their COVID-19 vaccine page for more information on distribution, also misinformation and Frequently Asked Questions. It can be found online at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/vaccine/index.htm

The Wesley Health Center at 45104 10th Street West is seeking to vaccinate AV grocery workers, seniors, teachers and other eligible people to sign up for vaccinations Friday and Saturday at the health center south of Avenue I.

Below are the links for registration for COVID-19 vaccinations for this weekend at the Lancaster Health Center.  

Charles Bostwick, a field aid for Supervisor Barger notes that “Folks will need to get the links and register.”

According to the Los Angeles County information, essential workers in food service or childcare and teachers are eligible. The center is said to have about 600 community slots between Friday and Saturday. 

People in the eligible categories should bring their badge from work or a paycheck stub. If they don’t have these identification items, they can sign “attestation papers” at the site. 

The Wesley Health Center continues to vaccinate health care workers and people above 65 years of age the agency wants  to direct these appointments for Lancaster and Antelope Valley residents. 

To seek an appointment:

Lancaster: 8-11:30 a.m., Friday 

Lancaster: 1-4 p.m., Friday 

Lancaster: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday 

Vaccination sites also include Vons, Albertsons, Rite-Aid and CVS, Costco and other locations. Developing the appointments, however, still demands a level of computer skill that eludes some of our older citizens. Never fear to ask friends and family for assistance in that arena.

It is worth noting that the vaccines are safe and have high effectiveness, above 90% in warding off the COVID-19 virus that has killed so many and sent so many others to the hospital in great distress. They also offer the best opportunities to damp down the impact of the variety of variant mutations that are circulating.

Truly, the best path back on the road to a newly recovered status of normalcy is to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A few weeks ago, my personal dread was that the communities of the Antelope Valley would be left far behind. We are working class communities and cities, and are populated with high numbers of people who could easily be overlooked. It looks like that is beginning to turn around, and that is ground for optimism.

Dennis Anderson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at High Desert Medical Group. An Army veteran who deployed with local National Guard troops to cover the Iraq War for the Antelope Valley Press, he specializes in veterans and community health initiatives.

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