One in 4 Californians is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as the state continues its race to widely vaccinate residents and ward off any potential resurgence of the pandemic.
Despite the sheer number of people involved reaching that threshold – around 10 million residents have received the required two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna or a single injection of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently on hiatus – federal data shows the state continues to lag behind. others in terms of complete vaccination of its population.
California ranks 32nd among all states for the proportion of its population considered fully vaccinated, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The highest immunization coverage rates were recorded in Maine and New Mexico, 32.3%; Alaska, 32.1%; and Connecticut and Rhode Island, 31.6%.
Among the large states, the same rates are 26.1% in Pennsylvania, 24.3% in Florida and 22.3% in Texas.
About 25.4% of all Americans are now fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
However, while people can be considered fully vaccinated for accounting purposes as soon as they receive their last required vaccine, health officials stress that they will not achieve maximum level of protection until two weeks after their last dose. .
California compares much better with the proportion of its total population that has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Its figure, 43.2%, is tied for ninth among all states.
The gross number of doses administered in California – nearly 26.1 million to date – is 9.5 million more than that of any other state, and “more than all but five countries in the world,” said the Governor Gavin Newsom noted Sunday.
Although the Golden State remains well below the level of vaccine coverage experts deem necessary to quell the pandemic, each injection is another step forward in the long-standing battle against COVID-19.
While officials have long noted that the available vaccines are extremely effective in preventing the worst health impacts of COVID-19, there is growing evidence that they can also significantly reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.
The CDC recently released data relating to “rupture infections,” an unexpected situation in which a person tests positive for the virus at least 14 days after receiving a final dose of the vaccine.
As of Tuesday, the agency had received 5,814 reports of such cases. By comparison, more than 84 million Americans have been fully immunized.
While groundbreaking cases have been reported in 43 states and territories and the number is “probably underestimated, it still makes a very important point: these vaccines work,” CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Monday.
“This is really encouraging news,” she said at a briefing.
Nationwide, nearly 400 people with breakthrough infections had to be hospitalized and 74 died – although the CDC noted that “ hospitalizations and deaths that are not a direct result of COVID-19 are still considered breakthrough vaccine cases if the person has been fully vaccinated and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. “
In contrast, 29% of rupture infections were asymptomatic.
“Here’s the bottom line: Getting a vaccine will help protect yourself,” Walensky said. “It will help protect others. And that will help us end this pandemic. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer infections there will be, meaning fewer variants will emerge and fewer breakthrough infections will occur. “
With California now opening up vaccination eligibility to all people 16 and older, providers are pushing to get as many arm shots as supplies allow.
Vaccination sites in the city of Los Angeles are expected to distribute more than 100,000 doses this week, officials said.
“With the expansion of vaccine eligibility and more people signing up for the vaccine every day, our city remains enthusiastic and ready to respond to the new demand,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. communicated. “Getting the vaccine is free, easy and safe. We will continue to do our part to vaccinate Angelenos and encourage all people 16 and over to make an appointment, so we can end the pandemic.
LA County as a whole is expected to receive 361,750 doses this week, officials said, but allocations sent directly from the federal government to places such as qualified health centers and pharmacies are expected to bring the total supply to over 600,000.
From April 4 to 11, the county reported an average of nearly 100,000 doses administered per day, according to Dr. Paul Simon, scientific director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“At this rate, we are on track to fully immunize 80% of the county’s population aged 16 and over by the end of June,” he said in a briefing the week. last.
As the vaccine rollout continues, LA – along with vendors statewide – continues to adjust its efforts based on needs and circumstances.
The county’s large-scale vaccination site at Six Flags Magic Mountain officially closed on Sunday and was replaced by two new locations at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita and at the Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center.
Achieving broad vaccination is critical both to help end the pandemic and, in the shorter term, to fully reopen California’s long-standing economy – something state officials hope to do. June 15.
In the coming weeks, however, officials are emphasizing the importance of wearing masks in public, observing physical distances and avoiding overcrowded situations, especially indoors.
“By working together, taking precautions and getting us all vaccinated, we can get past this public health crisis,” Walensky said.