Los Angeles County health agencies and other providers will soon begin vaccinating youth aged 12 to 15 against COVID-19, with federal authorities Wednesday giving final approval for use of the Pfizer vaccine on that age group.
“Getting vaccinated is the way we end this pandemic,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for youth aged 12-17. A full list of vaccination sites in Los Angeles County offering the Pfizer vaccine is available at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/vaccine/docs/PfizerSites.pdf. Anyone aged 12-17 must be accompanied by an adult at a vaccination site.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis issued a statement Wednesday urging parents to get their teenagers vaccinated.
“Although children and teens have been at lower risk than adults to be hospitalized or have severe illness from COVID-19, they can still carry and pass on the virus to more vulnerable adults, and their lives have been upended as a result,” Solis said. “At the county, we are prepared to administer these vaccines at a variety of sites — from our larger sites, to parks administering the Pfizer vaccine, to those set up on school campuses directly. By doing so, we can give children and their families the peace of mind that they will soon be able to add another level of security to their protection from this virus and brings us closer to our new normal.”
Ferrer said if the county can maintain its pace of administering about 400,000 doses per week, “herd immunity” could be achieved by mid to late July. Health officials are estimating that 80% of county residents will need to get vaccinated to reach that point. County officials had earlier estimated that the bulk of county residents could be vaccinated by late June. But demand for the vaccine has tailed off — both in the county and statewide — in recent weeks.
Vaccines are now being offered without appointments at all county- and city-run vaccination sites, while authorities are emphasizing mobile clinics that reach into neighborhoods with low rates of inoculations. According to figures provided Monday, only 38% of Black residents in the county have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 42% of Latinx residents. That compares to 60% of white residents and 68% of Asians.
When looking at the numbers by age, older residents — who have been eligible for shots much longer — have the best rates, with 86% of residents aged 65-79 receiving at least one shot, and 73% of those aged 80 and up. But among the youngest eligible residents, those aged 16 and 17, the rate is just 34%, along with 45% of residents aged 18-29, 54% of those 30-49 and 65% of residents 50-64.
The county on Wednesday confirmed another 21 COVID-19 deaths, lifting the death toll from throughout the pandemic to 24,041. Another 322 COVID infections were also confirmed by the county, for a pandemic total of 1,236,243. View the latest detailed report by city and demographics here.
According to state figures, there were 375 people hospitalized in the county due to COVID as of Wednesday, down from 379 on Tuesday, with 84 people in intensive care.