Vaccine providers in Los Angeles County are contacting patients scheduled to receive Johnson & Johnson vaccines to reschedule or provide new appointments, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer, speaking at a regular press conference Wednesday.
The county has replaced almost 14,000 of its 19,068 appointments for Johnson & Johnson vaccines with Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and will prioritize the remainder of them for next week.
“Only Pfizer and Moderna will be offered at L.A. County vaccination sites, and all of our partner-provided sites, until the FDA and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have completed their review and have recommended that the pause be discontinued,” Ferrer said, noting the review is “expected to take at least several days.
“Getting vaccinated remains a critical step on our path to safely reopening and ending this pandemic,” Ferrer said, adding the county “remains committed to do everything we can to continue vaccinating L.A. residents as fast as we get doses.”
Compared to this time last year, the county’s average number of cases has decreased by 30% to 403 cases per day on average. Hospitalizations have decreased by 63%, while deaths have fallen from an average of 37 per day to seven per day, according to Ferrer.
Ferrer said the two most concerning and commonly circulating variants in the county continue to be the U.K. variant and the California variant.
The identification of these variants does highlight the need for all L.A. County residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves and others, Ferrer said. “And this includes wearing a mask, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from those not in your household, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.”
Data show “alarming gaps have narrowed,” including disparities in hospitalization rates between the county’s Latino and Black residents, who have been hospitalized at higher rates than white and Asian residents throughout the pandemic, according to Ferrer.
The county is currently in the orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Ferrer said, adding, “The earliest for (Los Angeles County) to move to the yellow tier would be at least three weeks from (April 13).”
Vaccine eligibility expands to everyone living or working in the county 16 years of age and older as of Thursday.
“I want to note that for those residents 16 and 17: You must get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine,” Ferrer said.
Public Health officials released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Wednesday:
New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 411
Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,226,964
New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 57
Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 23,553
Hospitalizations countywide: 493; 26% of which are in the ICU.
Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of April 14: 6, with 1,205 discharged since the onset of the pandemic.
COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 28, 20 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.
Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 27,439
Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV: 297
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of April 4: 39%
Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of April 4: 37.2%