Second booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be offered, starting Wednesday, to eligible residents at Los Angeles County vaccination sites.
Federal regulators approved additional COVID-19 vaccine shots Tuesday. The additional boosters of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people who are 50 and over, and who received their last booster shot at least four months ago.
Here's what to know.
Where are the LA County sites offering additional COVID-19 vaccine boosters?
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health vaccination sites will begin offering the second doses to eligible residents Wednesday at the following sites.
- 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
- Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex
Information about the sites is available here.
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Other non-county-operated sites may also have the secondary booster doses available this week.
Who is eligible for additional boosters?
U.S. regulators this week authorized another COVID-19 booster for people age 50 and older. It is considered a step to offer extra protection for the most vulnerable in case the coronavirus rebounds. The Food and Drug Administration's decision opens a fourth dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to that age group at least four months after their previous booster.
Until now, the FDA had cleared fourth doses only for people 12 and older with severely weakened immune systems. The agency said this especially fragile group also can get an additional booster, a fifth shot.
Why is the additional booster authorized for only some people?
FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said regulators set the age at 50 because that's when chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes become more common, increasing the risks from COVID-19. As for the immune-compromised, Marks said those patients are more likely to see their immune protection wane sooner and therefore can benefit more from extra protection.
There's limited evidence to tell how much benefit another booster could offer right now. FDA made the decision without input from its independent panel of experts that has wrestled with how much data is required to expand shots.
Will there be another booster recommendation?
The newest booster expansion may not be the last.
Next week, the government will hold a public meeting to debate if everyone eventually needs a fourth dose, possibly in the fall, of the original vaccine or an updated shot.
What are the latest COVID figures in LA County?
The county announced seven more COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, giving the county an overall total of 31,626. Another 541 cases have also been reported, lifting the countywide pandemic total to 2,831,655.
The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals is continuing its downward trend, falling to 321 as of Tuesday, down from 329 on Monday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 57, down from 60 a day earlier.
The rolling average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus was 0.7% as of Tuesday, roughly the same as it has been for the past two weeks.
On Thursday, 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.
NBCLA's Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.