LANCASTER — Palmdale resident Dan Hodge got his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Monday afternoon in the H.W. Hunter Pavilion at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds.

Hodge, 69, said his family urged him to get vaccinated.

“I’m glad to get it done,” he said.

The City of Lancaster opened the community vaccination site in partnership with Kaiser Permanente on Monday.

“Today is the opening day at the City of Lancaster’s mass vaccination site,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said. “We are so proud to finally be able to share this resource with our community. We have worked so hard to get the vaccine in Lancaster for our residents and Kaiser Permanente has been an incredible partner. There have been many heroes in this time of crisis and the people at Kaiser Permanente have really come through to meet one of our greatest needs — access to the vaccine.”

The vaccination center is a drive-up and walk-in site. People will wait in their vehicle until they are called to get the dose as part of a “pod.” The “pods” consist of about 40 people at a time.

The clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily. Kaiser started with an estimated 600 doses of the vaccine on Monday. They will ramp up each day this week, until they reach 1,000 doses on Friday. 

“We’re capable of doing 1,500 in here at a time, depending on the availability of the vaccine,” Nicol Gerstein, assistant director of Public Affairs and Brand Communications at Kaiser Permanente, said.

There is space inside the pavilion for people to socially distance while they wait. Everyone who comes through the center will also get a free Kaiser Permanente face mask.

“This is a great partnership with the City of Lancaster,” Gerstein said. “They provide a lot of the staff support and just have been partnering with us since day one.” 

The Antelope Valley Fair Joint Powers of Authority is another valuable partner, she said.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all eligible residents regardless of insurance. Those include individuals age 65 and older and educators. In order to receive a vaccination, qualified residents will be required to make an appointment via kp.org/covidvaccine 

For eligibility guidelines, visit kp.org/covidvaccine 

Kaiser Permanente will expand vaccine eligibility based on availability and changing guidelines from the state.

Those who register to make an appointment through Kaiser Permanente’s website, will make it under their Antelope Valley medical offices. However, everyone with an appointment should go to the fairgrounds. 

“We moved very, very quickly to try to get this open,” Gerstein said.

The website will be updated with the correct information by March 17.

Monday also saw the Antelope Valley Transit Authority launch its dedicated local bus service to the COVID-19 vaccination center at the AV Fairgrounds.

The dedicated routes will service the AV Fairgrounds from Palmdale and Lancaster. Palmdale pick-up and drop-off locations will be at the Palmdale Transportation Center at Sixth Street East and Technology Drive and at the South Valley Transit Center at 40th Street East and Palmdale Boulevard. 

Lancaster pick-up and drop-off locations will be at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park at 10th Street West at Avenue K-8 and at the Boulevard Transit Center at Jackman Street and Sierra Highway.

These bus routes will run on 35-minute frequencies during the days and hours the vaccination site is in operation. The service will be fare-free. Riders will be responsible for scheduling their appointment at the vaccination center.

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