PUBLIC HEALTH RELEASE
While the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) remains focused on administering first doses of vaccine to communities countywide, vaccination sites are preparing to make boosters available to everyone who needs one.
Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and approved boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines and noted that consumers are allowed to choose a different brand from their original vaccine as a booster. Once the CDC director provides their final approval, providers across the county will be able to administer additional doses.
The recommendations by the CDC and FDA allows for Booster doses of all three FDA-approved vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. Eligibility varies depending on which vaccine you initially received: anyone who received Johnson & Johnson more than two months ago is eligible for a booster shot. Meanwhile, booster eligibility for those who received Pfizer or Moderna is currently limited to people who received their primary series at least 6 months ago and who are either 65 and older or are over 18 and live in long-term care settings, have underlying medical conditions, or work or live in high-risk settings. People may receive booster shots of either the vaccine they originally received or a different vaccine.
Public Health estimates that 1.7 million residents in L.A. County received their second dose of Pfizer at least 6 months ago, 1.5 million received their two Moderna doses at least 6 months ago, and 470,000 residents received their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. Many of these individuals will be eligible for boosters once there is final CDC director approval.
The FDA and CDC are also expected to approve and recommend Pfizer vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 in early November. In L.A. County, this will make 900,000 children newly eligible for vaccination with pediatric doses of Pfizer vaccine. Pediatric doses of Pfizer vaccine are smaller than the adult and teen vaccine doses, 10 versus 30 micrograms, but the dosing schedule is the same: for children, teens and adults, two doses are given 21 days apart.
Currently, the County expects to get nearly 96,000 doses as part of our first wave of vaccine supply the first week in November, with many more doses arriving in two additional waves following very quickly thereafter. Doses are being allocated to the County and to the rest of the country on a pro-rata basis; based on your population. We do not anticipate scarcity, and expect there will be ample vaccine to meet demand.
An enormous network of providers countywide, is scaling up to provide vaccines to children between the ages of 5 and 11.
Thursday, Public Health confirmed 27 new deaths and 1,167 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 27 new deaths reported, seven people who passed away were over the age of 80, two people who died were between the ages of 65 and 79, eight people who died were between the ages of 50 and 64 and four people who died were between the ages of 30 and 49. Six deaths were reported by the City of Long Beach. To date, Public Health has identified 1,481,814 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 26,499 deaths.
There are 613 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, and 29% of these people are in the ICU. Testing results are available for more than 8,940,000 individuals with 15% of people testing positive. Thursday’s test positivity rate was 0.9%.
Overall, the County continues to see a small decrease across all metrics. Daily average case numbers are 828 as of October 13th, down 18% from the prior week, while daily average hospitalizations decreased 14% to reach 676, and daily average deaths are below 10, now at 8 per day.
Unvaccinated people continue to account for most cases and hospitalizations, and are 6 times more likely to get infected and 23 times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated people. Although deaths are now declining, the risk of death is 43 times higher among people who have not been vaccinated.
Public Health is working closely with schools to monitor safety amid continued substantial transmission in L.A. County. Last week, there were 568 student cases and about 2,100 student close contacts. Among staff, we saw 79 cases and 186 close contacts. These numbers represent a 37% decline in school cases and a 45% decline in staff cases from the prior week. Given there are more than 1.7 million children and staff attending or working at over 3,000 schools countywide, these are strikingly low numbers. This amounts to 0.04% of students and staff testing positive and 0.1% identified as close contacts.
“Our hearts and prayers go out to those of you who have lost friends, neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones during this difficult time. Please know our deepest condolences are with you,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Throughout this pandemic, we have seen a pattern where COVID numbers increase with cooler weather and with more activities moving indoors. Layering protections is a sensible approach, and we have focused on layering with safety measures that do not create significant disruptions to customary operations. After vaccinations, masking offers us the next best tool for reducing spread. As we get ready to celebrate fall holidays, staying mindful of avoiding unnecessary risks should be top of mind for everyone.”
While you don’t need an appointment at many places to get a first, second or third dose, it is very easy to make an appointment for a booster dose. You can go to MyTurn.CA.gov or to our website at VaccinateLACounty.com to make an appointment and for more information about booster shots. Additionally, many pharmacies and clinics countywide may be accepting appointments through their own systems.
Vaccinations are widely available throughout L.A. County and are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status.
Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to find a vaccination site near you, make an appointment at vaccination sites, and much more. If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or you’re over 65, you can call 1-833-540-0473 for help finding an appointment, connecting to free transportation to and from a vaccination site, or scheduling a home-visit if you are homebound.
Vaccinated middle and high school students are eligible for free UCLA football tickets. UCLA has partnered with Public Health to give away free tickets to a UCLA football game at the Rose Bowl to middle or high school students in L.A. County who’ve received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while tickets last. Students aged 12 to 18 who’ve received at least one dose can sign up for the free tickets online by visiting: http://ph.lacounty.gov/DPHUCLAVaxforTix.
COVID-19 Sector Protocols, Best Practices, COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, COVID-19 Surveillance Interactive Dashboard, Recovery Dashboard, and additional actions you can take to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.