Local emergency services take a half-full shot of vaccines

Santa Monica residents have consistently surpassed statewide and statewide averages for Covid-19 vaccination, but rates among the local workforce are lagging.

According to the County Department of Public Health, 81 percent of Santa Monica residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Nationwide, about 65 percent of Californians have received at least one dose, and the country recently hit 70 percent.

However, several areas of the Santa Monica economy and workforce have significantly lower vaccination rates.

In a virtual town hall, interim police chief Jacqueline Seabrooks said this week that the vaccination rate for the SMPD is around 55 percent.

“According to what you see in the county, about 50-55 percent of police organizations have had a vaccination,” she said. “Some of our employees have religious and / or medical exceptions that would rule this out.”

This rate is similar to the Santa Monica Fire Department.

“Santa Monica Fire is helping its staff obtain the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Santa Monica spokeswoman Constance Farrell. “Currently, 52 percent of Santa Monica Fire employees say they have fully vaccinated. The city’s leadership continues to strongly promote the safe, free, and effective vaccine to increase voluntary compliance across the organization. The city has coordinated six vaccination clinics for the community and employees since March and made it easier to schedule hundreds of vaccination appointments for employees. “

The local tariffs are at the level of the district. Only about 51 percent of Los Angeles firefighters and 52 percent of the city’s police officers are at least partially vaccinated. Less than 30 percent of Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department employees have received vaccination doses through employee clinics, and about 54 percent of state corrections employees are at least partially vaccinated.

The Santa Monica Big Blue Bus employees have a 65 percent vaccination rate.

Local health care providers are vaccinated much more often.

Approximately 82 percent of UCLA Health employees are fully vaccinated. Currently, 86 percent of residents and 85 percent of staff in qualified care facilities nationwide are fully vaccinated.

“Providence is committed to the safety of everyone who enters our hospitals and other facilities, especially as COVID-19 cases are escalating again and spreading rapidly, especially among the unvaccinated. We have been steadfast in promoting and promoting vaccination because we know that it has been proven not only to be safe and effective, but also to save lives, ”said Patricia Aidem of Providence St. John’s Hospital. “We have received a notice from the California Department of Health about the new public health ordinances and are starting discussions on how to do this so that we can be fully compliant.”

Government officials are now discussing mandatory vaccines for civilian employees pending final approval of a vaccine by the FDA.

California will require all of its approximately 2.2 million health care workers and long-term caregivers to be fully vaccinated by September 30 as the country’s most populous state loses ground in battling new infections of a more dangerous variant of coronavirus. The order, issued Thursday by the California Department of Health, differs from what Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said last month when he announced that health care workers would have the choice of either getting vaccinated or getting weekly tests undergo.

Some California local governments go beyond the new rule. In Los Angeles County, around 110,000 government employees will have to be vaccinated by October 1 under a new order from Board Chairwoman Hilda L. Solis. She found that about 4 million of the county’s roughly 10 million residents remain unvaccinated. The Los Angeles order does not provide for penalties for employees who refuse to be vaccinated.

Santa Monica is in discussion with trade unions about vaccination requirements.

Experts said the lack of vaccinations among frontline workers is particularly worrying for all concerned. People like police officers, firefighters or bus drivers meet many more people than the average resident, which increases the likelihood that they will be exposed to the virus. They said a vaccine is the best way to protect workers from infection and then protect everyone else they counter from spreading into the community.

Dr. Timothy Brewer is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Infectious Diseases at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and Epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

He said that delayed vaccination rates are dangerous in both the short and long term, as unvaccinated people are at greater risk of contracting the disease and spreading it.

“This is important for two reasons,” he said. “One of them is that it can cause disease and, in small numbers, even one to two percent die. The other reason it is very important is: the more the virus transmits, the more it can change. So variants arise because when the virus replicates and makes mistakes, we call these mutations, and these mutations can lead to new versions of the virus, we call them variants, and these variants can have properties like the delta variant where they are are more can spread from person to person. “

High vaccination rates also create a safety net for people who cannot directly benefit from a vaccine, such as people with weakened immune systems or young children.

Dr. Brewer said the current resistance to vaccines had nothing to do with health concerns, given the probabilities associated with the disease and the known safety of the vaccine. Instead, he said the health care response has been politicized.

“If you get a (coronavirus) infection, your risk of serious illness is about 15 percent, your risk of hospitalization, including potentially intensive care, is about 5 percent, your risk of death is about 1 to 2 percent and if so If you’ve survived all of these, your risk of post-COVID syndrome or long-distance illness is between 30 and 80 percent. These are all bad things, ”he said. “If you get vaccinated, you not only reduce these risks by about 90 percent, depending on the vaccine you receive, but also in terms of side effects such as blood clots or severe allergic reactions or Guillain-Barre, a neuropathic disease and neuron disease that occur in the.” On the order of about 2 to 11 per million doses, about 1,000 times less, and these side effects are not necessarily fatal. We know how to treat anaphylaxis, they now know how to treat blood clots, we know how to treat Guillain-Barre, so why expose yourself to all of these potentially horrific things when we have vaccines that are extremely safe and hundreds of people has been administered to millions of people. Over a billion people worldwide have been vaccinated. So we have a lot of data on these vaccines. We know they’re safe, we know they work, so there’s really no public health reason not to get vaccinated. So the people who are currently choosing not to vaccinate in the US, where we have vaccines, are choosing for reasons other than public health. “

Dr. Brewer said people with questions about vaccines should speak to a health care provider or use the county’s public health department resources.

Anyone 12 and older who lives or works in LA County can get the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit: www.VaccinateLACounty.com (English) and www.VacunateLosAngeles.com (Spanish) to find a vaccination center near you. Vaccinations are available throughout LA County, and many locations are open on weekends and have evening hours. Vaccinations are always free and available to eligible residents and workers regardless of immigration status. If you don’t have internet access, can’t use a computer, or are over 65 years of age, you can call 1-833-540-0473 to make an appointment, get free transportation to and from a vaccination site. or schedule a house call when you are at home.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit the Public Health website, www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

[email protected]

Comments are closed.