LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County health officials and other providers have started offering second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents.
The additional boosters were approved Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The second boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized for people who are aged 50 and over, and who received their last booster shot at least four months ago.
Boosters are also available for younger people who are considered immunocompromised and at higher risk of severe illness from the virus.
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health vaccination sites began offering the second doses to eligible residents Wednesday at:
-- Obregon Park in East Los Angeles;
-- Ted Watkins Park in South Los Angeles;
-- Balboa Sports Complex in Encino;
-- Commerce Senior Citizens Center in Commerce;
-- Market Street Center in Santa Clarita;
-- Palmdale Oasis Recreation Center; and
-- Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex.
Information about the sites is available online at VaccinateLACounty.com. Health officials said other non-county-operated sites may also have the secondary booster doses available.
The city of Long Beach, which operates is own health department separate from the county, also began offering additional boosters Wednesday at its vaccination locations at:
-- Cabrillo High School, 2001 Santa Fe Ave.;
-- Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus, Orange Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway;
-- Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.;
-- Cal State Long Beach, 6049 E. Seventh St.; and
-- El Dorado Park West, 2800 N. Studebaker Road.
Many pharmacies were also making the secondary boosters available. Rite Aid announced that all of its locations in California are offering the shots.
The county announced 29 more COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, giving the county an overall total of 31,655. Another 587 cases were also reported, lifting the countywide pandemic total to 2,832,706.
The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals was 325 as of Wednesday, up slightly from 321 on Tuesday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 51, down from 57 a day earlier.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.9% as of Wednesday, a slight rise from 0.7% over the past two weeks.
Last week, the department reported an uptick in COVID infections attributed to the BA.2, an offshoot of the Omicron variant that spurred a winter surge in cases and hospitalizations.
According to the county, the BA.2 sub-variant accounted for 14.7% of all specially sequenced cases from the week ending March 5 -- more than double the 6.4% rate from the previous week. Experts have suggested that BA.2 is at least 30% more contagious than the Omicron variant, which was already substantially more easily spread than the original COVID-19 virus.
According to the county, as of last Sunday, 83% of eligible county residents aged 5 and older had received at least one dose of COVID vaccine, and 75% were fully vaccinated. However, only 30% of children aged 5-11 have been fully vaccinated, the lowest rate of any age group.
Among Black residents, only 55.4% are fully vaccinated, along with 58.9% of Latina/o residents, compared to 73% of white residents and 82% of Asians.