With federal hurdle cleared, LA County plans to restart Johnson & Johnson vaccine soon – Daily News | #seniorliving | #elderly | #seniors
Los Angeles County could be ready within 1-2 days to again administer Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that the CDC and FDA have given the official green light to resume those shots, Paul Simon, the county’s chief science officer said Friday, April 23.
Public Health officials also confirmed 27 new deaths and 489 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing totals to 23,759 and 1,230,786, respectively. There are 453 people currently hospitalized with the virus in L.A County, 106 of whom are in intensive care, according to a state dashboard.
Among cities with their own health departments: Pasadena reported one case, for a total of 1,205; its death toll remained 340. Long Beach reported 28 cases, bringing its total to 52,777; the cirty’s death toll remained 928.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday recommended resumption of administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with warning labels. The decision clears the way for states to resume vaccination.
The agency, along with the Food and Drug Administration, paused use of the single-dose shots last week after 15 cases of rare blood clots, three of them fatal, were diagnosed in women younger than 50. Now, the U.S. has more than 9 million of the one-shot doses ready to go.
“We don’t want to delay it,” Simon said.
Providers will give those who receive the Johnson & Johnson brand information about what signs and symptoms to look for, Simon said, and what to do if they get any. He also noted that the county may bring in hematologists and other specialists for guidance.
L.A. County has in its reserve about 13,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine throughout its network, Simon said, and there may be 25,000 more from the federal and state government stockpiles.
“There is some reserve here that we can begin using immediately,” Simon said, “but it’s very uncertain what the ongoing deliveries will be given the shortfall in manufacturing here.”
There was a slight drop this week in allocations of Pfizer and Moderna doses, Simon said, but the state is expected to send a larger allotment for next week.
“There’s plenty of vaccine out there,” Simon said. “Now, the challenge is to make sure we get people to turn out” for it.
“As we increase rates across the county, we’re going to have a reservoir of unvaccinated people who will become less interested in getting vaccinated, so we’re working on different strategies with different groups to make sure we have good turn out for the vaccine,” Simon said. “We’ve already vaccinated the population who desperately wanted to (get it), now we’re sliding into the remaining group of people who have some level of hesitation or want more information.”
“It’s critically important — we want to get vaccination rates up,” Simon said. “We’d like to see them above 80% across all (age) groups as quickly as possible.” “As a state doing very well, but we’re concerned about what we’re seeing in other states (especially in Michigan and New York); We want to make sure we have enough population protection to will be resistant to any potential surge if its moves west.”
More than 6.6 million doses have been given to L.A. County residents and workers as of Tuesday, April 20, 4.2 million of which were first doses and 2.4 million second doses.
In the full week that everyone 16 and older living and working in L.A. County have been eligible for the shots, almost 19% of those 16 and 17 years old have been vaccinated with more than 47,000 doses given.
So far, 48% of residents 16 – 64 years old have gotten at least 1 dose, Simon said, up 4% from the week prior. And, 30% of people in that age group have been fully vaccinated. In the 65 and older age group, he added, 75% have gotten at least 1 dose and 60% of them are fully vaccinated.
Next week the county will get 297,000 doses through its provider network, an 18% decrease from last week. Of those, 160,000 will be Pfizer and 137,000 Moderna; 51% will be for first doses and 49% for second shots.
And, 74,000 of them will go to federally qualified health centers and community clinics that serve low income communities that are severely impacted by the pandemic.
Overall, the county health officials expect more than 500,000 to come in next week, including direct allocations from the state and federal governments. Of the county network’s nearly 300,000 doses for next week, 75% are going to sites in high need communities, as defined by the state’s vaccine equity metric and elevated case rates seen in those areas.
There are 111 mobile vaccination teams scheduled for next week to roll out to faith-based organizations, senior housing facilities and other community based organizations throughout the county, Simon said. They’re also working to create standing vaccination sites where people frequent like markets and Metro stations, starting this week with Palmdale and Lancaster Metrolink stations.
“While we are making good progress in increasing vaccination rates across the county, we unfortunately continue to see large geographic disparities,” Simon said.
Rates remain lowest in South L.A., East L.A, and the east San Fernando Valley, Antelope Valley and pockets of the San Gabriel Valley and Harbor Gateway regions, he added. Many west side and beach communities have 90% vaccination rates, with other affluent areas above 80%. Many lower income communities, however, have rates below 50%.
Officials hope to see rates among younger adults and teenagers increase in the coming weeks, Simon said, emphasizing the fact that being vaccinated also protects the people around the vaccinated person.
Younger people and those who have already weathered a COVID-19 infection are not immune to severe illness unless they are vaccinated, Simon said. He underscored that hospitalizations are rising for people 30-64 years old.
The county will target more efforts to get people who have already had the virus vaccinated, he added, including asking in follow up positive test interviews whether the person has gotten a shot and explaining to them the benefits.