LOS ANGELES, CA, Dec 10 – COVID-19 vaccine providers in Los Angeles County are now administering Pfizer booster doses to children 16 and 17 years old after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky affirmed the recommendation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to expand the booster eligibility.
Public Health continues to track the emergence of the Omicron variant and is taking steps to address the potential threats that may be posed by the variant, with a focus on protecting those who live in areas where there are higher numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and death rates.
Since vaccine effectiveness wanes over time, Public Health is encouraging residents to get boosted as soon as they are eligible, especially as we prepare for the winter and the potential circulation of Omicron.
According to early data from around the world, people who have received booster doses have better protection from Omicron infection than those who have received only a primary vaccine series. Additionally, we have seen strong evidence from L.A. County showing boosters are an effective way to protect yourself: Between November 23rd and 29th, people who had received both a primary vaccine series and a booster had six-fold more protection from infection than did people who had received the primary vaccine series alone (seven-day cumulative rates: 7 cases/100,000 vs. 43 cases/100,000). Unsurprisingly, unvaccinated people were at the highest risk over the same period of time, with a seven-day cumulative infection rate of 165 cases/100,000.
During times of high Covid transmission, differences in outcomes between more and less vulnerable groups have historically widened, with vulnerable populations experiencing more severe outcomes as transmission rises. In response, the Community Health Workers Initiative aims to narrow these gaps by reaching out to residents and business in high-need communities to provide them with critical information about COVID-19 vaccinations. Community health workers also provide residents with culturally relevant education on steps they can take to slow the spread of the virus, which include getting vaccinated or boosted, getting tested, and adhering to masking requirements.
These trusted community-based messengers provide culturally respectful information about COVID-19, and vaccinations, answer questions and connect residents to resources. To accomplish this, they often share first-person stories about overcoming vaccination hesitation and local data and information on COVID cases and vaccination rates.
To date, the Community Health Worker program has reached more than 2 million residents throughout the county. Between May 1st and November 14th, 2021, community health workers completed a total of 315,769 outreach activities, and facilitated over 7,538 vaccination appointments for residents across the county.
Additionally, between September 28th and November 13th, the program conducted outreach in 26 different block groups across Pomona in partnership with Fulgent. Outreach to those 26 blocks included visits to 5,333 homes, reaching 1,445 residents. Of these, 962 indicated they were fully vaccinated. Overall,128 vaccines and 45 COVID-19 tests were administered through this outreach effort.
“Increasing trust in vaccination among people who have not yet been vaccinated requires sensitivity to the information needs of people who have often lacked good reasons to trust public health and medical providers,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health. “Community health workers often represent credible messengers in neighborhoods and among populations with historically low access to health-affirming resources: nearly one in 10 community members reached through these initiatives over 6 weeks this fall accepted vaccination, and thousands more were provided with educational materials and resources in encounters that we hope will help build faith in public health efforts.”
Today, Public Health confirmed 16 additional deaths and 1,924 new cases of COVID-19. Of the 16 new deaths reported today, six were between the ages of 50 and 64, seven were between the ages of 65-79 and three were over the age of 80 years old. Of the 16 newly reported deaths, all had underlying conditions. To date, the total number of deaths in L.A. County is 27,304.
Public Health has identified a total 1,543,784 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County.
There are 667 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized. Testing results are available for more than 9,565,329 individuals, with 15% of people testing positive. Today’s test positivity rate is 1.2%.
Public Health would like to remind residents that getting vaccinated or boosted remains critical as holiday traveling and gatherings begin.
Additionally, all residents across LA County should continue:
Getting tested to help reduce the spread, especially if you traveled for the holidays, have had a possible exposure or have symptoms
Adhering to masking requirements when indoors or at large outdoor mega events, regardless of vaccination status
Residents are also reminded that they are legally required to be isolated if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to be quarantined.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and are recommended for everyone 5 years old and older to help protect against COVID-19. Vaccinations are always free and open to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. Appointments are not needed at all Public Health vaccination sites and many community sites where first, second, and third doses are available.