Los Angeles County will not be speeding up coronavirus vaccines for people 65 and older, despite California officials on Wednesday, Jan. 13, announcing that local officials had the ability to do so immediately.

L.A. County officials on Wednesday reported 281 additional deaths and 14,564 cases. Nearly 13,000 people have died so far from COVID-19 in L.A. County with reported deaths now averaging 231 per day over the past week. The county also neared 1 million total confirmed cases, meaning that roughly one in 10 county residents were at some point infected with the coronavirus.

With up to 800,000 health care workers and residents at long-term care facilities to inoculate first, L.A. County officials said they still did not have enough vaccines to widen its strategy. Residents older than 65 in L.A. County would likely be eligible to receive a vaccine by the beginning of February, although there is a chance the process could quicken if more vaccines are delivered to the state and county, officials said.

“I know how frustrating it must seem now to folks in LA County,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “We’re not done with our health care workers. And we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly with our health care workers.”

Orange County became one of the first in the state to take advantage of the state’s latest announcement to begin enrolling individuals 65 and older to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Long Beach, which operates its own health department, announced earlier this week that vaccines will be available for people 65 and older starting Jan. 23.

Also maintaining its own health department is Pasadena, where spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said public health officials still have fewer vaccines than it needs to inoculate all of the city’s healthcare workers. Right now, officials don’t expect that to change before next week, Derderian said, but they’re hoping to broaden the pool of eligible patients as soon as they have enough doses.

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Pasadena officials say they have significantly more elder care facilities per capita than other parts of the county. More facilities means more healthcare workers to vaccinate before they can start inoculating the general public.

So far, the county had inoculated roughly 194,000 health care workers at acute care hospitals along with a sizable portion of residents and staff at long term care facilities. In addition, 44,000 health care workers have so far received their final doses.

Ferrer said the state’s guidance does help clarify that in Phase 1B, following health care workers, those 65 and older will be eligible along with the others in that group. At first, those 75 and older were prioritized. Enrollment is not yet available for either of those groups, which also include those in emergency services and teachers. More information can be found at VaccinateLACounty.com.

The move by the state on Monday to open vaccines for those over 65 followed federal guidance this week to do so just as the state ranked as one of the slowest in …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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