LA County starts offering 2nd booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine for those 50 and older

With federal regulators approving the additional shots Wednesday, Los Angeles County health officials will begin offering second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents Wednesday.

The additional boosters were approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The second boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized for people who are aged 50 and over, and who received their last booster shot at least four months ago.

RELATED: FDA approves 2nd COVID-19 vaccine booster for those 50 and older

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health vaccination sites will begin offering the second doses to eligible residents Wednesday at:

-- Obregon Park in East Los Angeles;

-- Ted Watkins Park in South Los Angeles;

-- Balboa Sports Complex in Encino;

-- Commerce Senior Citizens Center in Commerce;

-- Market Street Center in Santa Clarita;

-- Palmdale Oasis Recreation Center; and

-- Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex.

Information about the sites is available online at Health officials said other non-county-operated sites may also have the secondary booster doses available.

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The county announced seven more COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, giving the county an overall total of 31,626. Another 541 cases have also been reported, lifting the countywide pandemic total to 2,831,655.

The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals is continuing its downward trend, falling to 321 as of Tuesday, down from 329 on Monday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 57, down from 60 a day earlier.

The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.7% as of Tuesday, roughly the same as it has been for the past two weeks.

On Thursday, the department reported an uptick in COVID infections attributed to the BA.2, an offshoot of the Omicron variant that spurred a winter surge in cases and hospitalizations.

According to the county, the BA.2 sub-variant accounted for 14.7% of all specially sequenced cases from the week ending March 5 -- more than double the 6.4% rate from the previous week. Experts have suggested that BA.2 is at least 30% more contagious than the Omicron variant, which was already substantially more easily spread than the original COVID-19 virus.

According to the county, as of last Sunday, 83% of eligible county residents aged 5 and older had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 75% were fully vaccinated. However, only 30% of children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate of any age group.

Among Black residents, only 55.4% are fully vaccinated, along with 58.9% of Latina/o residents, compared to 73% of white residents and 82% of Asians.

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