Updated 02/26/21

Patient and Community Vaccine Administration Update

Torrance Memorial is receiving a limited supply of vaccine and will hold 1st dose clinics as vaccines become available. Please call our COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at 310-784-6824 to hear a recorded message on vaccine availability.

We are not pre-registering nor have a waiting list for future clinics. Meanwhile, during this challenging time, our offices are going above and beyond to care for their patients. We are asking everyone to help by not calling them with questions about the vaccine.

More public sites are opening throughout the South Bay. Visit the LA County Department of Public Health website for available community clinics.

For the most up-to-date information on Los Angeles County vaccine distribution plans and to sign up to receive Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine email alerts, click here. The LACDPH website is the best source to find latest updates on when the vaccine will be available to more people.

Because our clinics will be limited in the number of vaccines we can deliver, we encourage you to visit LACDPH website to find alternative vaccine clinics near you.

Covid vaccine

The coming days and weeks will require patience from us all as we navigate this quickly evolving situation. Torrance Memorial is committed to keeping you informed and will update you with the latest information as it becomes available.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update with Dr. Zachary Gray

Torrance Memorial emergency physician, Dr. Zachary Gray, answers COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions.

Vaccine Development: Normal Process vs. Operation Warp Speed

The vaccine development process follows a standard set of steps to ensure vaccines are safe and effective. For the COVID-19 vaccine under Operation Warp Speed, no steps were skipped, but they were accelerated to get a vaccine to market more quickly. These steps include:

Step 1: Obtaining Funding

Normal Process:

Pharmaceutical companies that wish to develop a new vaccine need to find a way to pay for the project. Often this involves applying for research grants from HHS and other government agencies. The application process can take years.

Operation Warp Speed:

For the COVID-19 vaccine, funding was made available by the federal government — no grant applications were required.

Step 2: Preclinical Trials

Normal Process:

Pharmaceutical companies hoping to develop a new vaccine need to find a way to pay for the project. Often, this involves applying for research grants from HHS and other government agencies. The application process can take years.

Operation Warp Speed:

Previous research into other coronaviruses gave vaccine developers information they could use to create a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, streamlining the preclinical research process.

Step 3: Phase I Clinical Trials

Normal Process:

Phase I clinical trials are conducted with only a few dozen human volunteers to assess short-term safety and side effects, such as soreness at the injection site and fever with different vaccine doses.

Step 4: Phase II Clinical Trials

Normal Process:

Phase II clinical trials assess safety and measure immune responses caused by the vaccine in a larger group of volunteers.

Step 5: Phase III Clinical Trials

Normal Process:

Phase III clinical trials assess whether the vaccine is safe and effective compared to a placebo and often include thousands of volunteers.

Step 3-5: Phase I, II, and III Clinical Trials

Operation Warp Speed:

All steps of the clinical trial process were completed when developing the COVID-19 vaccine. However, some steps were combined — such as Phase I and Phase II, or Phase II and Phase III — to expedite the process. Phase III clinical trials were also completed more quickly in the midst of a pandemic because it was easier to measure the effectiveness when compared to a placebo.

Step 6: Regulatory Approval

Normal Process:

After the Phase III clinical trial is complete, the vaccine manufacturer must submit a Biologics License Application providing data on safety, immune responses and effectiveness. The FDA reviews data to determine whether the vaccine should be approved.

Operation Warp Speed:

If scientific evidence suggests a vaccine may be safe and effective, the FDA may authorize vaccine use through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Step 7: Preparing for Manufacturing

Normal Process:

After Phase III clinical trials are complete, vaccine manufacturers begin ramping up their ability to produce a large number of vaccine doses. The FDA also conducts periodic inspections of manufacturing facilities.

Operation Warp Speed:

The U.S. government and other stakeholders took steps to ramp up manufacturing capacity before the findings from Phase III trials were available. Two vaccine candidates use messenger RNA (mRNA) instead of live or inactive viruses. Vaccines using mRNA are easier to manufacture than live or inactivated vaccines because they do not require handling large quantities of the virus.

Step 8: Distribution and Rollout

Normal Process:

After manufacturing capacity is established, vaccine manufacturers make plans to distribute the vaccine to private partners and state health departments, who distribute doses to local health care providers. Part of this step involves ensuring proper shipping and storage methods are used to preserve the vaccine. The FDA also issues guidelines for who should receive the vaccine and how it should be administered.

Operation Warp Speed:

The U.S. government created a coalition of experts from the Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Health and Human Services to work with private partners and state health departments to expedite vaccine distribution, as well as guidelines for its administration. Manufacturers are working closely with distribution partners to ensure vaccines can be stored and transported under proper conditions (particularly the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine which requires ultra-cold storage). The government has also issued a phased rollout plan which prioritizes distribution to vulnerable individuals..

Step 9: Vaccine Safety Monitoring

Normal Process:

After a vaccine receives FDA approval, the agency continues to monitor its safety in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Operation Warp Speed:

This step remains the same under Operation Warp Speed. VAERS will still be used to track side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.