Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 have begun to slowly roll out in Los Angeles County, although health officials have warned that delivery delays have limited the availability of pediatric vaccines. Some Southland pharmacies and pediatric practices started dosing on Tuesday, but availability was limited in many counties. Vaccines are expected to be introduced in some areas today, the official said.
Federal authorities have approved doses for children aged 6 months and over over the weekend. The approval covers vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
County health officials noted that younger children are at lower risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID, but they said the risk is higher among unvaccinated children. They also state that unvaccinated children are at higher risk of developing multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.
Over the past three months, unvaccinated children aged 12-17 are nearly four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than vaccinated children, according to the District. Of eligible children in the county who contracted confirmed cases of MIS-C, 65% were not vaccinated, officials said.
According to the county health department, delivery problems caused the delay, and wider distribution is expected by Wednesday.
Ultimately, the county expects vaccines to be available at more than 900 vaccination sites. Meeting locations and times can be found online at vaccinatelacounty.com or in Spanish at vacunatelosangeles.com.
On Tuesday, the county reported another 2,294 cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases for the entire duration of the pandemic to 3,071,314. Health officials noted that while the daily number of cases appears to be stabilizing after an increase over the past few weeks, overall transmission of the virus remains high.
Health officials said the total number of people who test positive is likely much higher than daily reports as many people rely on home tests, the results of which are often not shared with the county.
“The most important steps we can take is to vaccinate or revaccinate the entire family if they are eligible, including the youngest family members who can now be vaccinated,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “Residents are also required to wear a mask indoors when around other people and get tested if they feel unwell, have been exposed to, or are gathering with other people. If we continue to take these protections, we can protect each other and start reducing transmission.”
The average daily rate of people who test positive for the virus continues to rise, reaching 10.6%. The percentage is rising due to a decrease in the total number of people being tested, due to the fact that the summer holidays are leaving in schools.
On Tuesday, the county reported two additional virus-related deaths, bringing the total to 32,263.
The number of COVID-positive patients being treated at county hospitals rose sharply from the weekend, reaching 671 on Monday before dropping slightly to 664 on Tuesday, the state said. As of Tuesday, the number of patients being treated in intensive care was 68.