Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby and other members of the agency received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, proclaiming that infection rates within the department have dropped dramatically since initial doses were administered.
“I can tell you to date, over 75% of our first responders have been vaccinated, which is over 3,000 people. And we’re trying to get more,” Osby said after receiving his second dose at the South Gate’s Fire Station 54.
The department reported Monday that it had seen a “drastic decline” in the test positivity rate and the number of individuals out sick with COVID-19 within its workforce.
Osby said in a statement Monday there was a roughly 75% acceptance rate to the vaccine among department members, allowing the agency to “keep our first responders on track to stay as healthy as possible during these most challenging times of the pandemic.”
“With the second dose of the vaccine now being given to our team members, this will provide another layer of protection and allow us to continue to seamlessly provide the highest level of care to our patients,” Osby said.
The fire department’s Emergency Medical Services Bureau coordinated its first vaccination clinics countywide in late December, administering more than 3,000 vaccines. Medical workers are in the first tier of eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccines.
At the time, the fire department was reporting COVID-19 test positivity rates equivalent to that of the county’s rate of 18 percent.
In the weeks since the first vaccination clinics, the department has steadily reported and documented steep declines in its COVID-19 test positivity rates from its highest weekly average of 18 percent to its current rate of 5.6 percent, fire officials said.
“As expected, the vaccine began to have its impact seven to 10 days after the first vaccines were given,” county fire Medical Director Dr. Clayton Kazan said in a statement.
“As the county continues to surge, new cases among department personnel began dropping precipitously as did our test positivity rate,” Kazan said. “This is the first time in the entire pandemic that our data diverged from that of the County.”