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Appointments for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine have declined by about 50% in Los Angeles County, alarming public health officials who call it a worrying trend reflecting slowing vaccination rates across the country. ‘State and country.

“I know across the county last week we saw a lot fewer people coming in for the shot. For the first time ever, we have had appointments at many vaccination sites that weren’t filled out, ”LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said during a briefing. press Thursday.

This likely means that for the first time the county will not administer 95% of its supply over a seven-day period, she said.

The drop in demand prompted the county to allow more walk-in appointments at vaccination sites, rather than requiring appointments. This flexibility will be allowed until next week, and is likely to expand.

“All of our sites will continue to take anyone who shows up, even if they don’t have an appointment,” Ferrer said. “I think the strategy moving forward for all of us will be to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated. And for some, that will mean we’re going to get the vaccine close to where you already are – if you’re in a mall; if you are in a church or a mosque; if you are in a school.

To date, over 7.2 million doses have been administered in the county. More than 45% of residents have been partially vaccinated, according to a Times analysis, and more than 30% have been fully vaccinated.

After months of demand exceeding supply, demand has leveled off in recent weeks. Experts and health officials have attributed the decline to a variety of reasons, including persistent hesitation about the vaccine and problems with access.

California is set to receive nearly 90,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week as U.S. officials resume supply of the single-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

The planned allocation of 87,800 doses would be the first direct federal shipment of J&J vaccine since the week of April 12 – when administration of the vaccine was temporarily halted while health officials investigated reports of a rare blood clotting disorder in a handful of recipients.

Federal health agencies lifted the break after 10 days last Friday, paving the way for resumption of shooting.

With Johnson & Johnson, California is expected to receive around 1.15 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 857,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.

Turning on the Johnson & Johnson expeditions tap could boost California’s inoculation rate, which has lagged somewhat since the shutdown.

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