May 22, 2022

LA County begins offering more COVID vaccine booster doses

View Original Notice ? LA County begins offering more COVID vaccine booster doses

Los Angeles County providers began offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on Friday, Oct. 22, to people who previously received any of the three inoculations in circulation, as public health officials continue pushing the vaccines ahead of the winter — so the current plateau in coronavirus numbers don’t spike like they did during last year’s holiday season.

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approved the wider distribution of booster shots Friday, following a recommendation Thursday from a CDC advisory panel.

Long Beach will begin administering those boosters on Saturday.

Booster doses had previously been available only for eligible people who received the Pfizer vaccine during their initial doses. The new CDC approval now offers booster shots to people who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Under the federal guidance, people can receive a different brand of booster shot than their original doses.

Booster shots are available for people who are:

  • 65 years of age or older.
  • 18 and older and living in long-term care settings.
  • 18 and older with underlying medical conditions.
  • 18 and older and living or working in high-risk settings.

People who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna shots should not receive a booster until at least six months after their last dose. For the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, people must wait at least two months after their shot.

Most vaccination sites do not require appointments, and shots are usually available on a walk-in basis. However, appointments can be made at, or in Spanish,

About 79% of eligible county residents aged 12 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 71% are fully vaccinated, according to numbers released Thursday.

“While we continue prioritizing getting unvaccinated people vaccinated against COVID-19,” county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement, “we encourage everyone who is eligible to enhance their immunity by getting a booster dose.”

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters coming online happened the same day the county reported another 15 COVID-19 deaths, raising the overall death toll from the pandemic to 26,513.

Another 1,227 new cases were also confirmed Friday, giving the county a cumulative pandemic total of 1,483,031. The rolling daily average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.9% as of Friday, a tick up from the 0.88% reported the previous day.

After dropping below the 600 mark on Thursday, the number of COVID- positive people hospitalized in Los Angeles County, meanwhile, jumped up to 621 on Friday. The number of people in intensive care, however, declined from 184 on Thursday to 173 Friday.

The decline in hospitalizations and the relative stability of other coronavirus metrics, though, belied the concern health officials have repeatedly expressed about the months ahead — particularly with the specter of last year’s deadly winter surge providing further urgency to inoculate those who remain unvaccinated while giving boosters to high-risk people.

“It is important that those at high risk because of their age, underlying health conditions or occupational setting get their booster dose,” Ferrer said, “and we’re encouraging people that fall into these higher-risk categories, to please make sure you are getting your boosters well before the holidays.”

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