Vaccinations Continue to Offer Hope for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19
Vaccines continue to provide powerful protection against COVID-19, yet many LA County residents have not yet started their initial series or received any booster doses. There are currently 1.9 million unvaccinated residents 6 months and older, and of the 7.5 million age 5 and older who are fully vaccinated, 57% have not received any booster. With more infectious subvariants circulating in the county and immunity from vaccines and prior infections waning over time, it is critical for residents not up to date on their vaccines to take advantage of the new Fall booster that targets the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
Vaccines have continued to provide protection against the virus. For the two-week period ending September 1, unvaccinated residents were two times more likely to get infected than those who are vaccinated and four times more likely to be hospitalized than vaccinated residents. Unvaccinated residents were also nearly seven times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated residents.
Sadly, because vaccination coverage is not similar across all age groups and race/ethnicity groups, there are some communities where there may be less protection from severe outcomes associated with COVID. As of September 18, only 22% of Latinx and Black children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, compared to almost 42% of White children and 61% of Asian children in this age group.
Young Latinx and Black adults ages 18 to 29 also had significantly lower vaccination rates of 58% and about 48%, respectively, compared to 91% of Asian residents and almost 77% of White residents in the same age group.
As we enter Fall and prepare for Winter, residents are able to take advantage of the powerful protection offered by vaccines. Those who haven’t yet received their initial series may want to get started immediately since it will take a few weeks to reach maximum protection. The 7 million residents eligible to receive the new Fall boosters should know that the new boosters match the dominating variants that are circulating, adding to their value in countering the natural waning of immunity that happens with the passing of time. Residents ages 18 and older can receive either the Moderna or the Pfizer bivalent booster, while children ages 12 to 17 can receive the Pfizer bivalent booster. Both are given as a single booster dose, administered at least two months following primary or previous booster vaccination.
Here is a link to all free home test kit sites in LA County: Vaccination Sites - LA County Department of Public Health.
LA County vaccination sites will start administering the Novavax vaccine beginning Wednesday, August 3. The Novavax vaccine was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month. Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Novavax vaccine was developed without the use of mRNA technology. The vaccine was found to be 90% effective against mild, moderate, and severe disease in the company’s Phase 3 clinical trial involving 30,000 participants ages 18 and older.
Residents 18 years and older can get the Novavax vaccine, which is a two-dose primary series, with the second dose administered three weeks after the first. Boosters are currently not recommended and the Novavax vaccine is not yet authorized for children 17 and younger.
Residents can walk into any Public Health vaccination location to receive the vaccine. Residents can also contact their provider to see if their provider is offering Novavax.
With LA County in high transmission, Public Health recommends adding layers of protection to receive optimal protection against COVID-19. Find free vaccination, testing, and treatment at http://VaccinateLACounty.com.
Residential households in the U.S. can order one set of 4 free at-home tests from USPS.com.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health created a helpful summary of COVID-19 Myths and Facts. Click here to read the summary of helpful information.
What do we know about Omicron?
A new variant called Omicron was identified in South Africa and designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organization on November 26th and by the Centers for Disease Control on November 30th.
Omicron has an unusual number of mutations, more than 30 of which are in the spike protein, which is the “door key” the virus uses to enter and infect humans. This could be concerning because mutations to the spike protein could increase how contagious the virus is or if it has the ability to escape from vaccine protection.
What can we do now?
The most effective tool remains the vaccines, and we encourage everyone 5 and older not yet vaccinated or boosted to do so with a sense of urgency. The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and very effective against earlier strains of the virus, which gives us hope that these same vaccines will also provide some protection against Omicron.
Residents can walk-in to any Public Health vaccination site or make an appointment at the hundreds of sites across the county to get vaccinated. For more information, they can visit VaccinateLACounty.com.
August 23, 2021: Here is the official FDA announcement: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine | FDA . The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will now be known as "Comirnaty." You can still ask for Pfizer.
As of August 13, 2021 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that individuals who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and have already received 2 doses of mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) should receive an additional dose of the same vaccine no sooner than 28 days after a second dose. These individuals should contact their healthcare provider. The CDC does NOT recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time. For more information, please click here.
As of May 13, 2021 in California, people age 12 and older are eligible for vaccinations.
COVID-19 vaccine available at your local pharmacy. Text your zip code to 438829 to receive contact information of three locations near you.
To receive a record of your vaccination from the City of Pasadena click here.
If you do not have a doctor who is familiar with your health, a general practitioner, please click here to register to request updates from the City of Pasadena Public Health Department on available vaccination locations.
If you are a Pasadena resident and need assistance or have additional questions, please call the Citizen’s Service Center at (626) 744-7311. Beware of vaccine scams! If someone offers to sell you the #COVID19 vaccine or a chance to get vaccinated before it's your turn, it's a SCAM.