Teens are being vaccinated at ‘decent pace,’ LA County health officials say

Just a few days after Los Angeles County began offering COVID-19 vaccinations to youths as young as 12 years old, health officials say thousands of residents ages 12-15 have been vaccinated. 

There has been “a great turnout” among eligible teens, said Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s director of public health, on Monday, May 17. 

As of Friday, more than 16,000 12 to 15-year-olds had been vaccinated. Teens who are 16 and 17-year-old have continued to get vaccinated at a “decent pace,” Ferrer added. More than 95,000 teens or 38% of all 16 and 17-year-olds countywide have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

To get vaccinated, teens must present some documentation of their age, school ID card, or any other record that shows their birthday. Only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for children.

Currently, the county is aiming to help maximize site capacity and expand efforts to vaccinate teens in the parks, day camps and other places where they spend their summer days.

In a nationwide survey that was conducted between February and March, parents were asked how likely they were to get their children ages 11 to 18 vaccinated. Among parents who had been vaccinated:

  • 88% of that Latinx parent said they were very or somewhat likely to get their kids  vaccinated 
  • 81% of Asian parents 
  • 78% of White parents 
  • 61% of Black parents also agreed that they were likely to get their teens vaccinated.

“It’s important to understand the reasons for hesitancy among some parents,” Ferrer said. 

While the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is lower for children and teenagers than adults, “it’s still important to get teens vaccinated. It’s all about preventing them from transmitting COVID-19,” Ferrer said. 

As of Monday, four additional people passed away, including two people who died were over the age of 80 and both had underlying health conditions and two people who died who were between the ages of 65 and 79. They also had underlying health conditions. The total number of deaths is 24,097 across L.A County.  

“We extend our love and prayers to everyone who’s lost loved ones during this tragedy and we’re hopeful that even as we collectively mourn these great losses, deaths will continue to remain very low in the weeks ahead,” Ferrer said. 

On Monday, the county reported 161 new cases, which brings the total number of cases in LA County to 1,237,561.

In cities with their own health departments, Pasadena reported no new cases or deaths, its totals remaining at 11,273 and 346, respectively. A total of 53,223 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Long Beach. The city has also logged 934 deaths from the virus, according to figures released Monday that cover data recorded as of Friday.

There are 338 currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in L.A. County, up a tick from Sunday’s total of 322, with 69 patients in intensive care units. 

Health officials investigated a total of 5,150 residential congregate settings and non-residential settings with at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. Of these, there are 41 ongoing investigations and the county closed 5,109 investigations.

To date, more than 6.6 million people have been tested and had test results reported in L.A. County. The accumulative positivity rate has decreased to 17% and the daily test positivity rate remains at 4%. 

Case numbers and other metrics continue to remain low and stable over the past month, Ferrer said, adding that the county has reported small declines among cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

 Although case numbers remain low and stable, the county continues reporting COVID-19 transmission in LA County particularly among those who are not fully vaccinated. 

Ferrer said the CDC is now “acknowledging the importance of maintaining local protections to prevent the increased circulation of variants or virus mutations that result in new variants of concern it is important to do everything we know how to do to prevent transmission.” 

With nearly 56% of LA. County residents not yet fully vaccinated, she added, and all of our children under 12 not yet able to get vaccinated, “masking distancing and infection control remain critically important strategies at many sites and at many activities.” 

Outbreaks at schools, daycares, interim housing, places of worship, correctional settings, food facilities and fire stations are all at low and stable levels, Ferrer added. The average number of outbreaks across worksites has dropped from almost 200 weekly at a peak during the surge to 24 a week, marking a 88% decrease. 

 As of May 14, L.A. County administered 9,013,851 doses of the vaccine. About 5,075,552 LA County residents received their first dose of the vaccine and 3,890,589 LA County residents received their second dose of the vaccine.

Still, the county has seen a “serious decrease” in the numbers of adults showing up to get their vaccines last week, Ferrer said. Between May 8 and May 14, the county administered only about 370,000 doses. For comparison, the health department administered over 530,300 doses just two weeks earlier in April. 

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