County health officials anticipate new boosters, vaccination of young children

Coronavirus. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control

Health officials are expecting to see an increase of COVID-19 booster shots throughout Los Angeles County as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved new Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters. 

“Our countywide network is prepared to begin administering these additional boosters to all eligible people, as determined by the Centers for Disease and Control,” said Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer during her weekly press conference on Thursday.  

On Wednesday, the FDA approved boosters from Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. Previously, only Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine boosters were made available for eligible individuals who received their second dose of Pfizer at least six months ago.  

She added that once the CDC gives its final approval, Public Health officials will work quickly to revise their fact sheets for providers and residents to ensure everyone has access to updated information.  

Then health officials will ensure Moderna and Johnson and Johnson boosters are available to eligible residents.  

According to Ferrer, eligibility encompasses individuals who are 65 and older and have their first two doses. Then those individuals must have one of a few conditions: live in a long-term care setting, live with underlying medical conditions, or for individuals who work and live where there’s an increased risk of exposure or transmission.   

The county plans to supply its vaccination sites and mobile vaccination sites with boosters, once approved, as well as ensure health care providers the necessary supplies to provide boosters, too.  

“Once the CDC issues their final recommendations, people can (potentially) receive booster doses of either the vaccine they originally received or have a different vaccine,” Ferrer said. “We anticipate that there’ll be more details available on this approach.” 

Lastly, she addressed concerns about vaccinating children ages 5 to 11, as the FDA and CDC plan to decide on that matter in early November. 

She assured that the FDA and CDC are verifying and reviewing Pfizer’s data on its clinical trials. More than 2,300 children participated in the initial trial and there are other ongoing trials with younger children.  

Although death due to COVID-19 is less common in children than adults, and 2% of 5.7 million children in the United States who were diagnosed with COVID-19 were hospitalized, here in L.A. County, 400 children died due to COVID-19, according to Ferrer.   

“And if you have concerns, we urge you to speak with your child’s medical provider and check the CDC website and our website for updated information,” Ferrer said. “Keeping our children safe keeps all of us safe, and it gives us a path forward to complete our recovery.” 

Public Health officials also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Thursday: 

Countywide COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,481,814 

Total COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours: 1,167 

New deaths related to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: 27 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 26,499 

Hospitalizations countywide as of Oct. 18: 635 

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley as of Oct. 20: 59, 43 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita 

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV as of Oct. 20: 36,743 

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of Oct. 20: 346 

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