Data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health indicates the Santa Clarita Valley is on par with the county and ahead of the state vaccination averages — but there’s still a distance to go before the county hits the home stretch, aka herd immunity.
For all of the SCV, about 59.5% of the population has been fully vaccinated, compared to about 61.1% of county residents who have received at least one shot (5,083,497), according to Public Health, and about 55.2% of people statewide have received at least one shot, according to MayoClinic.org data.
The data for the entire city of Santa Clarita, with a population estimate of 176,831, indicates 62.4% of people (110,266) who live within city limits have been vaccinated.
Leading the communities in the SCV by percentage, San Francisquito Canyon Road has 134 of its 143 residents vaccinated — at 93.7%, according to the data, while Placerita Canyon is reporting that only 63 of its 352 residents have received either a one- or two-shot vaccine, at 17.9%.
About 45% of Castaic’s approximately 22,700 residents have received their vaccine, while the third-largest population by community in the SCV, Stevenson Ranch and its 17,460 residents, has seen 65.3% of residents vaccinated.
Locally, health officials acknowledge it’s a personal choice, and encouraged people to base their decision on whether to vaccinate on the advice of a medical professional and scientific research, as opposed to anecdotal stories on social media. More than 9.1 million people as of Monday have received the vaccine in L.A. County, compared to a very, very small number of people who’ve experienced side effects. (Most available data indicates the odds are about one in several hundred thousand that one might experience an adverse reaction.) The latest efforts from Public Health have included incentives to spur those with second thoughts, including “Hamilton” and L.A. Lakers season tickets giveaway.
“I understand that it’s a personal decision,” said Courtney Mattley, pharmacy clinical coordinator, addressing some of the concerns and reasons she’s heard for people’s hesitancy in vaccination. “I just hope that those personal decisions are based on real data, and not some kind of conspiracy theory.”
There’s still no data that suggests the vaccine can impact fertility, Mattley noted, expressing a common concern that’s been shared. And while one might think they’re safe because a person either thinks they already had it, the immunities you build up from having the virus last about three months on average, Mattley noted, whereas the immunities built up from the vaccine can last eight to nine months.
Preliminary data indicates that one is much less likely to get the virus a second time once one has already had it However, the risk doesn’t go down to 0%. In a six-week study of 3,000 Marine recruits in South Carolina, about 10% of those with a prior infection contracted the virus again, and data indicated those who had become infected were about 82% less likely to contract a second infection, according to the study cited on Healthline.com.
Lingering concerns also include the speed at which the vaccine was approved, but that’s not necessary, per health officials. “The development of the COVID-19 vaccines did not cut corners on testing for safety and efficacy,” according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine website, which has a page set up to dispel rumors.
Mattley referred to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, or ACOG, with respect to dispelling any myths that link the vaccine to fertility concerns. She acknowledged the absence of long-term data, as the vaccine is new, but there’s also been “no scientific reason to believe that it would cause infertility,” Mattley said. “There’s a ton of people in the studies who have become pregnant while they were getting studied or as soon as the study was over.”
The vaccination figure needed to reach community immunity, or “herd immunity,” would take effect when enough people are protected from the disease — either because they’ve already had it or because they’ve gotten vaccinated — making it harder for the virus to spread from person to person and protecting even those who cannot be vaccinated, such as newborns, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, said the nation must achieve a vaccination rate of about 80% to reach the milestone, other health experts believe that threshold could be higher.
If you’d like more information on how and where you can schedule a vaccine, visit: myturn.org. Information on vaccine trials is available at clinicaltrials.gov.
— Signal Staff Writer Caleb Lunetta contributed to this report.