You have most likely heard a lot in the news lately regarding the newly emerging COVID-19 Omicron Variant. Please see the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) COVID-19 Fact Sheet Omicron Variant, dated November 28, 2021. We will send more information as it becomes available.
There are important steps we can all take to protect ourselves from COVID-19 and from emerging variants of concern. The most important strategy remains making sure that everyone 5 years and older gets fully vaccinated or receives their booster does as quickly as possible to reduce transmission of the virus dominating across the county. The vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and earlier strains of the virus which allows us to remain hopeful that the approved vaccines will also provide some protection against Omicron. However, given that there continues to be substantial transmission of COVID-19 and we have uncertainty about the level of vaccine efficacy against this new variant of concern, all residents across LA County need to be sure to adhere to the masking requirements and wear a mask when indoors or at large outdoor mega events regardless of vaccination status. We continue to strongly recommend that individuals wear a mask when at any crowded indoor or outdoor events. Residents are reminded that they are legally required to isolate if they have a positive COVID test result and that vaccinated close contacts with symptoms and unvaccinated close contacts need to quarantine. Testing is an important tool in early detection of infection to reduce spread and we encourage residents who have traveled for the holidays to get tested if they traveled internationally or to locations in this country with high transmission rates, or they participated at gatherings and events with large numbers of people, some of which may be unvaccinated.
While we are still learning much about Omicron, we know enough about COVID to take steps now that can reduce transmission as we prepare to better understand the additional strategies that may needed to mitigate this new variant of concern.
Other pertinent information and resources can be found on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/
Los Angeles County is now administering boosters for all three FDA-approved vaccines; Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.
For people who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are recommended for everyone who was vaccinated two or more months ago.
LA County residents eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine include those who received the second of the two-dose vaccine series at least 6 months ago and are:
All eligible individuals are now allowed to choose a different brand from their original vaccine as a booster.
When getting your booster, you should bring proof of their primary vaccine series, such as the white vaccination card, a photo of the white vaccination card, or a digital record. At many sites, you may be asked to sign an attestation form indicating you meet the criteria to receive the booster if you don’t have proof of vaccination.
You can make an appointment for their booster by using MyTurn.CA.gov or the County website at VaccinateLACounty.com and for more information about booster shots. Additionally, many pharmacies and clinics countywide may be accepting appointments through their own systems.
If you need a ride to get your vaccination, you can reach out to the Public Health call center at 1-833-540-0473 and you will be connected to free transportation.
For additional information, visit the CDC webpage COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot.
Please see information below about no-cost COVID-19 testing at local health centers and select pharmacies.
The COVID-19 testing sites on the LA County COVID-19 Testing website offer no-cost (free) testing.
The City of Los Angeles also offers free COVID-19 testing.
U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) has also partnered with pharmacies and retail companies to accelerate testing for more Americans in communities across the country (HHS website)
These companies are coordinating with state and local governments to:
Please visit these companies’ websites to learn more about their efforts to provide timely and accessible COVID-19 testing or to schedule an appointment.
No-cost testing is available at local health centers and select pharmacies:
Other pertinent information and resources can be found on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 webpage.
Given the increasing evidence that fully vaccinated people can get infected with COVID-19, it is important to track the information about the vaccines’ effectiveness and how they keep ourselves and others safe.
To date, more than 5.1 million residents are fully vaccinated in LA County, represented by the big green box. The tiny purple box in the left lower corner of the green box below represents the 27,331 fully vaccinated people who tested positive for COVID as of August 17, 2021, representing less than 1% of those fully vaccinated.
Of those fully vaccinated and tested positive, 0.014% were hospitalized, and only 0.0013% died.
This data should provide significant reassurance that fully vaccinated people remain at relatively low risk for becoming infected with COVID-19 and even lower risk for having a bad outcome if they are infected.