LOS ANGELES, CA – Elderly Angelenos, certain workers, and people with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for a severe case of COVID-19 can now receive booster shots in Los Angeles County.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday, and they were made available on Friday in Los Angeles County as part of an aggressive campaign to get firearms and a fatal fall – or fend off the winter rise. Booster vaccinations are only available to people who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. A little more than 1 million people in the district had before 1.
“Many others were healthcare workers and people at serious risk of developing serious illness from COVID,” she said.
78-year-old President Joe Biden said he plans to get his booster immediately.
“My message today is if you have the Pfizer vaccine, you received the Pfizer vaccine in January, February, March of this year and are over 65 years old, get the booster,” Biden said Friday. “Or, if you have a disease like diabetes or work on the front lines, like a healthcare worker or a teacher, you can get a free booster shot.”
In Los Angeles County, appointments for booster shots can be made through the state’s MyTurn website. Appointments can also be made directly at pharmacies or clinics that offer Pfizer vaccines. The district has 1,300 permanent vaccination centers and 400 mobile clinics. Los Angeles County has the capacity to deliver 130,000 syringes per day and is well positioned to meet demand for booster syringes, Ferrer said.
The county has already distributed more than 80,000 third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine under previous state guidance that allowed such vaccinations for people who are considered moderate due to serious health conditions such as cancer or other diseases that pose a high risk of the disease up to severely immunocompromised illness or death from COVID apply.
The campaign comes when new cases of COVID-19 emerged in Los Angeles towards the end of the week.
“Starting today (Friday), eligible Los Angeles County residents can get their booster dose at any of the hundreds of locations offering the Pfizer vaccine,” said Barbara Ferrer, district director of public health, in a statement. “The booster dose provides improved protection for those who were fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine six months ago and who are at increased risk of developing COVID-19 and / or developing serious illness from COVID, who prioritize the first doses to those who are eligible and have not yet been vaccinated. “
A CDC advisory panel on Thursday recommended Pfizer booster vaccinations for people 65 and older, people in long-term care facilities, and people between 50 and 64 years of age with pre-existing conditions, and select people aged 18 to 49 with serious health problems.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky supported the recommendation on Friday and expanded it to include people at increased risk of infection due to their job.
“It was a decision to give access instead of denying it,” she said.
Boosters have not yet been approved for people who have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
As Ferrer touted the county’s readiness to give booster vaccinations, he continued to lament the dramatically slowed pace of the initial vaccination on Thursday. She noted that the county has made significant progress since the spring, but added, “There are areas where our prices are still well below levels, especially in the northern part of the county.”
As of this week, 77% of the county’s eligible residents aged 12 and over have received at least one dose and 68% are fully vaccinated. Of the total 10.3 million residents of the county, including those who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, 66% have received at least one dose and 59% are fully vaccinated.
The county’s rate of new infections has continued to fall, with the highest rate now among unvaccinated adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. Ferrer found that vaccinated residents of the same age group had the lowest rate of new infections in the county. Cases among the unvaccinated teens peaked in mid-August when schools reopened their campuses, many with mandatory testing programs that increased infection rates.
Ferrer attributed continued health measures such as wearing masks and mandatory vaccinations or testing requirements for major events to keep the number of new cases in the county down. She presented numbers that showed the county’s infection and death rates are only a fraction of those in Texas and Florida, states that have shunned such infection control measures.
“In places where no sensible steps have been taken to contain the spread of the virus, the Delta Tribe continues to ruin the future and kill lives at a rapid rate,” Ferrer said.
Los Angeles County reported an additional 32 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing the county a total of 25,972 deaths. Another 1,571 cases were reported, bringing the total to 1,451,438 throughout the pandemic.
According to the state, there were 956 COVID-positive patients in Los Angeles County hospitals on Friday, up from 991 on Thursday. There were 310 patients in the intensive care unit, up from 314 a day ago.
The number of COVID-positive hospital patients in Los Angeles County has declined 23-fold in the past 25 days, down from a summer high of nearly 1,800.
The moving average daily rate of people in the county who tested positive for the virus was 1.5% on Friday, roughly the same as on Thursday. The moving average daily rate of people in the county who tested positive for the virus was 1.52% on Thursday, up from 1.7% on Wednesday.
City News Service, Patch Staffer Paige Austin, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.