COVID-19 vaccine doses for children under age 5 became more widely available across Los Angeles County following shipping delays that stalled the rollout of the pediatric shots.
Federal authorities approved the doses for kids as young as 6 months over the weekend. The approval applies to vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
County health officials noted that young children are considered at lower risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID, but they said the risk is higher among unvaccinated children. They also contend that unvaccinated children are at higher risk of developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
According to the county, over the past three months, unvaccinated children aged 12-17 were nearly four times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID than vaccinated children. Among vaccine-eligible children in the county who contracted confirmed cases of MIS-C, 65% were unvaccinated, officials said.
Some Southland pharmacies and pediatrician offices began administering the doses Tuesday, but availability was limited at many county run sites. According to the county Department of Public Health, shipping issues were causing the delay, with more widespread availability on Wednesday.
The county estimated the shots would ultimately be available at more than 900 vaccination sites. Information on locations and scheduling appointments is available online at vaccinatelacounty.com, or in Spanish, vacunatelosangeles.com.
The county on Wednesday reported another 5,575 COVID infections, raising the overall total from throughout the pandemic to 3,076,849.
Health officials have said that the overall number of people testing positive is likely much higher than the daily reports, since many people are relying on at-home tests, the results of which are often not relayed to the county.
Eight more COVID deaths were reported Wednesday, raising the county’s cumulative virus-related death toll to 32,271.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus rose to 11.3%, up from 10.7% a day earlier. The percentage has been rising due a drop in the overall number of people getting tested caused by schools going on summer break.
The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals rose to 679 on Wednesday, up from 664 on Tuesday, according to state figures. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 67 on Wednesday, down slightly from 68 a day earlier.