LA Mayor says vaccines for seniors, medical workers won't finish until summer at current pace
LOS ANGELES - The vaccine rollout for Los Angeles County is slow going. Mayor Eric Garcetti said at the current pace with the current supply, the vaccinations for all seniors and medical workers will not be completed until summer.
"If you take the calculation of what the county is getting each week, about 160,000 [doses] and you just look at the number of healthcare workers and seniors, we won't get through them until June. When you expand that to the 7.5 million of the 10 million people that the Department of Public Health at the County level expects to get a vaccination, maybe not all of them will get two-dose vaccines. But let's assume it's 15 million doses, we're talking about being in June of 2022 at the pace here so I want our state leaders to hear that. I want our federal leaders to hear that and I want our private sector who is producing this vaccine to hear it," said Mayor Garcetti.
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There are concerns about having enough vaccinations to cover both seniors 65 and older, and healthcare workers who are ready for their second dose.
"That second dose, we can't today say everybody with a second dose anywhere in America, if you're also expanding eligibility will be able to exactly get it on time. I do think the next two to three weeks will be difficult ones where we won't be able to meet the need to keep this going with people's first or second dose if you will," he said.
Garcetti said he is "confident" the city and county will receive more shipments of the vaccination and also said data from experts suggest there's wiggle room for the second dose.
Dr. Anne Rimoin, a Professor of Epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Global and Immigrant Health, also spoke to FOX 11 about the vaccine's efficacy.
"We have data from the trials which is what informs us about vaccine efficacy and what we know is the Pfizer vaccine after the first dose is about 50 some odd percent effective but the Moderna vaccine can provide up to 80 percent protection after one dose compared to 95.6 percent in the second dose. We really do need to have this second dose to really carry us over the line to have really optimal protection," said Rimoin.
Rimoin said healthcare workers can wait if they have to for the second dose, though it's best to get it if they are able.
"It may be possible that some health workers who got their first dose might need to delay a week, two weeks, a few weeks to get that second dose, but that shouldn't have a measurable effect. Immunologically, it shouldn't have a major effect on efficacy. If you can get your second dose on time, get it because we do have data on how well it works in that scenario," she said.
Rimoin said mask-wearing and all safety protocols are still crucial after the vaccine.
"It takes approximately six weeks until you have optimal immunity from these vaccines and so when you get your first shot, you still need to be extremely cautious. You need to be doing everything you were doing before getting that vaccine and up until around two weeks after your second dose," she said.
Mayor Garcetti said vaccination sites in the city of Los Angeles are running smoothly.
"Already, city sites have vaccinated more than 80,000 people at our five city-run vaccination sites," he said.
Garcetti also said by the end of the day Friday, the city of Los Angeles will finish vaccinations for everyone in the City who lives in a skilled nursing facility.
"Remember, in the beginning of this pandemic, 45 percent of our deaths came from those most vulnerable communities who lived in those skilled nursing facilities," he said.
The Crenshaw Christian Center ran out of vaccinations on Thursday and told people with appointments to come back on Friday to get vaccinated.
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