After months of only certain groups of people being eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster, state health officials updated their guidelines to allow all adults within the state to receive their booster shot.
On Thursday, the state’s MyTurn.ca.gov stopped asking adults seeking to make an appointment to receive their Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster whether they belonged to certain high-risk groups.
The news follows a letter sent out on Nov. 9 by Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, the director of the California Department of Public Health, that directed health care providers within the state to no longer deny booster shots to booster-seeking adults.
“Allow patients to self-determine their risk of exposure,” Aragón said in his letter. “Do not turn a patient away who is requesting a booster if: The patient is 18 or over and has met the six-month original vaccination series time period for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or it has been at least two months since their J&J vaccine.”
The CDPH’s website was updated on Tuesday to say that the approval of boosters for all adults was due to certain populations beginning to see a slight decrease in vaccine effectiveness against infection.
“Booster doses of vaccines are very common,” reads CDPH’s website. “They are part of most childhood and adult vaccine series to ensure a person maintains optimal immunity against infection from a disease.”
The news of the state’s website expanding its parameters came hours before Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, reported that in the last two weeks, Santa Clarita and Stevenson both ranked in the top 10 cities and communities in L.A. County for 14-day case incidence.
Ferrer noted that from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6, the communities of Lancaster and Palmdale topped the list with age-adjusted 14-day case rates per 100,000 of 338 and 331, respectively. The report also showed Santa Clarita at fourth in the county with a case rate of 289 per 100,000 and Stevenson Ranch at seventh with a case rate of 287.
“We continue to see a steep rise in case and hospitalization rates… (among) unvaccinated people, while rates among vaccinated people remain relatively low and stable,” Ferrer said. “This divergence means unvaccinated people now have nine times the risk of infection and 67 times the risk of hospitalization of vaccinated people and this is a staggering difference.”
The chart did note, however, that the local case, testing, fully vaccinated and cumulative case rates for both local communities, as well as Studio City, Venice and West Hills, were below the Los Angeles County city and community average.
“(For the five) communities with high 14-day case rates, cumulative case rates were lower than the L.A. County average indicating that they had a lower burden of prior infections and that may have created some vulnerability,” said Ferrer. She later added: “To summarize these findings, our data doesn’t point to a well-defined and consistent set of risk factors that are aligned with the current hotspot communities. While we’ll keep trying to understand factors that could contribute to high transmission, it remains important that each of us do our part to layer on safety by getting vaccinated and taking sensible precautions.”
Currently, the overall Stevenson Ranch community is 76% fully vaccinated and the city of Santa Clarita shows a 75% fully vaccinated rate. The L.A. County average vaccination rate, as of Thursday, was 73%.
In addition to showing the 14-day case rate numbers, Ferrer reported there were 1,088 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed countywide in the last 24 hours, and 26 new COVID-related deaths.
Thursday’s report brings the county’s total number of cases since the onset of the pandemic to 1,515,324 cases and 26,949 deaths.
In the past day, the Health Department reported 45 new COVID-19 cases — as well as one COVID-19-related death — in the Santa Clarita Valley, 30 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.
The latest numbers bring the SCV’s total number of cases since the onset of the pandemic to 38,460 with 358 COVID-19 related deaths. Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital last reported on Monday it they had 16 patients in the hospital, 1,630 COVID-19 patients discharged and 181 COVID-19-related patient deaths.