Los Angeles County expects an increase in its supply of COVID-19 vaccines this week, which will give a boost to the region’s vaccination efforts.
The county’s latest allocation, set at around 362,000 doses, is up nearly 39,000 from last week, according to the Department of Public Health.
This number is just one piece of the larger pharmaceutical pie. Allowances sent directly from the federal government to qualified health centers and pharmacies are expected to bring the region’s total transport this week to more than 600,000 doses.
County officials say they can more than handle shipments of this size. 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.
Vaccination sites in the city of Los Angeles alone 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.
However, even with the boost expected this week, the county’s direct shooting share will remain lower than it was seen earlier this month. The main culprit is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is uncertain as federal health officials investigate six national reports of blood clots among its recipients.
California, acting on the advice of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, stopped the use of this vaccine last week.
“These cases are one in a million events, and it is not yet clear whether there is a real link between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the severe blood clotting results,” the Los County supervisor said Monday. Angeles, Hilda Solis. “Even though this potential side effect is rare, we still withhold all Johnson & Johnson vaccines as a precaution until the FDA tells us it’s safe.”
As of the week of April 4, of 397,430 COVID-19 vaccine doses assigned to LA County, 118,000 were J&J.
While it is not known how long the J&J hiatus will remain in effect, Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, has said in interviews on the news shows that he expects a decision when CDC advisers meet on Friday.
“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a recovery in one form or another by Friday,” he said on Sunday. “I don’t really anticipate that they will want to stretch a little longer.”
Since the break was announced, LA County has been able to replace 70% of J&J doses with the two vaccines still in use: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, according to public health director Barbara Ferrer.
“For those whose appointments were canceled last week, providers have already done so or will be in contact to reschedule your appointment as soon as possible,” she said at a briefing on Monday. .
The county, she added, “will follow CDC and FDA guidance on when it is safe to resume administration of the J&J vaccine.”
In the meantime, providers are pushing for as many arm shots as supplies allow, now that California has opened up vaccine eligibility to all people 16 and older.
As the 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 closed on Sunday and was replaced by two new locations, College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center.
Achieving broad vaccination is critical to help end the pandemic and, in the shorter term, completely reopen the California economy – which state officials hope to do on June 15.
However, officials stress the importance over the coming weeks of wearing masks in public, observing physical distances and avoiding overcrowded situations, especially indoors.
“We in Los Angeles are in a good position right now, and we have the opportunity to chart a different course than what we see unfolding in other parts of the country,” Ferrer said. “But we can only do it if we do it together. We know how well a simple mask works to protect children and adults, and how essential it is that each of us do our part to continue to protect ourselves by getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
Basics of vaccines:
Appointments can be made online using the state’s My Turn system. Officials said the online system could process up to 300,000 transactions per hour and they expected it to be able to keep up with demand.
Appointments can also be arranged by calling (833) 422-4255, where support is available in over 200 languages. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
In Los Angeles County, people with disabilities or without access to a computer are encouraged to call (833) 540-0473 between 8 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Appointments can also be booked with healthcare providers, such as Kaiser Permanenteand pharmacies that offer vaccines, such as CVS, Ralphs, Rite aid, Walgreens, Costco, and Albertsons / Vons / Safeway / Pavilions.
All vaccines are free to anyone living in the United States, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.