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Coronavirus

Supplies tight new vaccinations limited- new mass vaccination site at Cal Poly Pomona

#NoSuperSpreaderSunday

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

POMONA – The first large scale federal-state community vaccination center in Southern California opened Friday on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona and is slated to run seven days a week.

The new site located in the university parking area will start by offering about 500 to 1,000 appointments in its first few days, then ramp up to eventually offer between 8,000 to 10,000 vaccinations daily by February 16 officials said.

“I am grateful to President Biden and Governor Newsom for answering my call and marshaling federal and state resources to significantly increase our ability to vaccinate our residents,” said Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Hilda L. Solis. 

“Our County and in particular our Latinx residents have been absolutely devastated by COVID-19. Establishing this large scale federal-state community vaccination center on the Cal State LA campus, in the heart of Los Angeles County and in a hard-hit community, is a welcome signal that we are ramping up at the federal, state and local level with the practical, boots-on-the-ground solutions we need to put an end to this deadly pandemic.”

According to a news release from Kaiser Permanente, which is one of several health care providers offering vaccinations on the campus, The Cal Poly Pomona site is structured initially to prioritize vaccinating people 65 years and older, but eligibility will expand as more of the vaccine supplies becomes available.

Appointments for the next few days are fully booked, but more appointment slots will be released in the coming days Supervisor Solis. said in a media release. Appointments are required and can be made using the state’s MyTurn scheduling system or by calling (833) 540-0473 for assistance.

Dr. Paul Simon, the county’s chief science officer during a press briefing Friday cautioned that there was a very limited supply as these mass inoculation sites begin operations.

“We’re just struggling with the supply, the limited supply, and feeling an obligation to make sure that people who have had a first dose are able to get their second dose,” Simon said.

There will be a “very limited” amount of first doses given out Monday, and starting Tuesday the five mass vaccination sites it runs will only give second doses he told reporters.

A Texas National Guard medic administers coronavirus vaccine on Jan.29, 2021, in Cuero, Texas. On Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that more than 1,000 active-duty troops will join the vaccination efforts at multiple locations throughout the U.S.
(Photo Credit: Texas National Guard)

The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,000 active-duty troops to support coronavirus vaccination efforts at multiple locations throughout the United States, Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced Friday. Stars & Stripes reported that troops will start arriving in a little over a week to run a new site at Cal State L.A. opening February 15 according to Andy Slavitt, a White House coronavirus adviser.

“The military’s critical role in supporting sites will help vaccinate thousands of people per day and ensure that every American who wants a vaccine will receive one,” Slavitt said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has acknowledged the initial vaccine rollout was unacceptably slow and had the state ranked near the bottom nationally. There’s been improvement and the state now is averaging 1 million shots a week but limits on the supply coming from the federal government means California’s capacity to provide shots far outstrips available vaccine.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 226 new deaths and 4,761 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.  To date, Public Health identified 1,138,764 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 17,764 deaths.

In a statement issued Friday Public Health urged Angelenos not to gather for Super Bowl Weekend:

Gathering with people outside of your household, especially in settings where people are shouting, chanting, or singing and not distancing can easily lead to increased cases of COVID-19, serious illness, and more deaths. Public Health recommends residents to play it safe and enjoy the Super Bowl with people you currently live with, and to connect virtually with other friends and family who live outside of your household.  Please do not gather with people from outside your household to watch the Super Bowl.

Public Health officials are closely monitoring the number of deaths.  More than 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths have been reported since Monday. Even as cases and hospitalizations decline, deaths may remain high for two more weeks.

“I want to remind everyone how important it is to celebrate the Super Bowl only with members of your household.  This fall and winter, we learned painful and tragic lessons about how gatherings and celebrations lead to transmission of COVID-19 that ultimately results in a great deal of serious illness and death,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“While we continue efforts to ensure that vaccine makes it into more arms, we implore everyone to stay home as much as possible, to not gather, and to do everything you can to prevent transmission of the virus. Please do the right thing: wait your turn for a vaccine and allow those eligible for the vaccine to register and be vaccinated.”

#NoSuperSpreaderSunday

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health urges eligible residents to check www.VaccinateLACounty.com regularly for appointments.

Residents with internet access and a computer should use the website to sign up for an appointment when eligible or to see when their turn is coming up.

The call center is available and reserved for people with disabilities or who don’t have a computer or internet access.  For those without access to a computer or the internet, or with disabilities, the call center is open to help schedule appointments daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 833-540-0473.  The call center uses the same system as the online system and is a low-tech way for those with accessibility needs and older people who may not have a computer or a smart phone, to make an appointment.

As more people are vaccinated, the County will be watching very closely to assess progress in ensuring equitable distribution of the vaccine. Residents should remain diligent in adhering to the physical distancing, face masking, and other precautions necessary to prevent spread of the virus, even after being vaccinated.  

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Coronavirus

CDC: 85% of gay & lesbian adults in U.S. are vaccinated against COVID

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBTQ persons limited because of the lack of routine SOGI data collection at the national & state levels

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Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/GSA

ATLANTA – A new study report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), found that found 85.4% of gay and lesbian Americans above age 18 had received at least one vaccine dose as of October 2021.

The study, conducted from August 29 until October 30, 2021, also found that by comparison, only 76.3% of heterosexuals reported receiving at least an initial dose by the same date.

The report noted that Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations have higher prevalence of health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness compared with non-LGBT populations.

The potential for low vaccine confidence and coverage among LGBT populations is of concern because these persons historically experience challenges accessing, trusting, and receiving health care services

Data on COVID-19 vaccination among LGBT persons are limited, in part because of the lack of routine data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity at the national and state levels.

In March of 2021, the Blade reported the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has revealed deep-seated inequities in health care for communities of color and amplifies social and economic factors that have contributed to those communities being hit hardest, and Mega-vaccination centers set up by California health officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been addressing and tracking the issue- the LGBTQ communities are still not being tracked.

This lack of data collection has frustrated and angered California State Senator Scott Wiener who authored a bill last year that passed through the legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last Fall that mandates gathering sexual orientation and gender identity data related to the COVID testing in California.

“We’re one year into the pandemic, and LGBTQ people continue to be erased in our public health response to COVID-19 — similar to our invisibility throughout history. No government is successfully tracking COVID-19 cases in the LGBTQ community, despite a law I wrote mandating that California do so,” Weiner told the Blade. “And, we now know that LGBTQ people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. We’ve also just learned that vaccination demographic data doesn’t include LGBTQ data. It simply shocking that in 2021, progressive health agencies continue to forget about our community,” he added.

The CDC also noted that gay and lesbian adults were more likely to be concerned about COVID-19 and to believe in the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

“We know that the prevalence of certain health conditions associated with severe COVID-19 illness, such as cancer, smoking, and obesity, are higher in LGBT populations, and access to health care continues to be an issue for some people in the LGBT community,” Dr. A.D. McNaghten, a member of the CDC’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Team and corresponding author of the study, told ABC News. “We wanted to see if vaccination coverage among LGBT persons was the same as non-LGBT persons.”

The CDC data recorded that bisexual and transgender adults had similar vaccination rates to heterosexual adults with 72.6% of bisexual adults fully vaccinated by the end of October, as were 71.4% of transgender adults. The numbers however for Black and Hispanic lesbian women had lower rates of vaccination at 57.9% and 72.6%, respectively, compared to Black and Hispanic heterosexual women at 75.6% and 80.5%, respectively.

Higher percentages of gay or lesbian adults and bisexual adults reported that they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (90.8% and 86.8%, respectively) compared with heterosexual adults (80.4%), and higher percentages of adults who identified as transgender or nonbinary reported they thought COVID-19 vaccine was very or somewhat important to protect oneself (83.2%) compared with those who did not identify as transgender or nonbinary (80.7%).

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Coronavirus

White House orders distribution of 400 million free N95 masks

Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator; “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks”

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President Joe Biden (Blade file photo/screenshot)

WASHINGTON – As the latest surge of the highly contagious and easily transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to cause a rise in hospitalizations, especially among unvaccinated adults and children, the White House announced Wednesday it is making 400 million N95 masks available for free at thousands of locations across the nation.

The plan an admkistartion official said, is to start shipping the nonsurgical masks to pharmacies and community health centers to distribute this week, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile.

In an interview with NBC News, Dr. Tom Inglesby, the administration’s Covid testing coordinator, said, “We know that these masks provide better protection than cloth masks.”

The N95 masks will be made available to everybody, and recipients will not be prioritized based on vulnerability to Covid, income or other criteria. Inglesby said the administration was “confident that people who want to access them will be able to access them,” but it was not immediately clear how many masks a person could receive at one time.

On January 13, President Joe Biden had announced a plan to have the government distribute 1 billion rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests free to Americans, along with the N95 masks, as the administration works to fight the spiraling upward spike in coronavirus cases.

The White House website to order free at-home Covid tests went live Tuesday. The website says: “Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.”

A White House official said Wednesday that the distribution of 400 million masks would be the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history.

Inglesby told NBC News that the administration was “absolutely preparing for the possibility of additional variants in the future” and that people could expect the government to make N95 masks “more and more available.”

Biden announces free masks, tests to fight omicron:

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Cases increase by nearly 10 times in one month

While hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID

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Graphic courtesy of UCLA/Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

LOS ANGELES – A total of 31,576 new COVID-19 cases were documented on Monday — up ten times the number of cases reported on Dec. 17, 2021, when there were 3,360 new cases recorded the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported Monday.

There are  4,564 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized, nearly 6 times the number from one month ago when 772 people were hospitalized. The daily positivity rate is 16.5%, more than 8 times the 2% daily positivity rate on December 17th.

Just one week ago, the county surpassed 2 million total COVID-19 cases, with the figure reaching 2,289,045 cases as of Monday.

“On this national holiday where we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, we remember his deep commitment to health equity.  As Reverend King memorably said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhuman because it often results in physical death,’ ” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health.

“Tragically, we have seen this play out in real life and very clearly over the past two years with the disparate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color. From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation,” she added.

“The good news is that while hospitalizations continue to climb, Public Health data shows that many positive cases are admitted for reasons other than COVID but, are identified with COVID when tested for COVID upon hospital admission,” the health department said in a statement released last week.

As of Friday, more than 80% of all adult ICU beds in the county were occupied.

There are also 27 new deaths due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and 31,576 new positive cases.

The public health department also noted that while the number of children hospitalized with the virus remains low, the number of them admitted to L.A. County hospitals “significantly increased” over the past month, with the largest increase among children younger than 5 years old.

The increase mirrors trends seen nationwide for the age group — the only one not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The county also saw its highest coronavirus death rate in nearly 10 months over this past week, with an average of 40 COVID-19 deaths a day.

“From the onset of the pandemic, communities of color have experienced the greatest devastation from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and throughout the nation. As we continue to implement strategies – enforcing worker protections through our Health Officer Orders, providing resources needed by many to survive the impact of the pandemic, funding community-based organizations in hard hit areas to serve as trusted public health messengers, and increasing vaccination access in under-sourced neighborhoods – we also need to come together to address the impact that racism, historical disinvestment, and social marginalization have on COVID-19 outcomes,” Ferrer said.

“While these conditions predate the pandemic, without deliberate collective actions to address the root causes of health inequities, we are unlikely to close the gaps we have documented for 2 long years,” she added.

California has recorded more than 7 million coronavirus cases after its fastest accumulation of reported infections in the history of the pandemic, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The unprecedented count, recorded in California’s databases late Monday, comes one week after the state tallied its 6 millionth coronavirus case.

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