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Santa Monica Vaccination Rate Tops 80 Percent

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By Jorge Casuso

August 2, 2021 -- There were 181 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Monica last week -- the second-highest weekly tally since January -- as the city's vaccination rate topped 80 percent.

The number of weekly cases, however, was slightly more than half the 343 cases reported the previous week, according to Los Angeles County data.

As of Sunday, there were 5,504 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city of 93,000. The number of virus-related deaths has remained at 183 for the past three months, with no new deaths reported since May 2.

Health officials attribute the sudden surge in cases to the more contagious -- although far less deadly -- delta strain, which accounts for some 85 percent of the total confirmed cases countywide.

LA County has seen the number of cases skyrocket from a five-day average of 201 in mid June to an average of 3,134 cases over the last five days.

There were 72 virus-related deaths confirmed countywide last week, up from 41 in mid June. That's far below the record 1,563 deaths during the week of January 11.

To combat the increase in cases, County officials -- with City officials following suit -- have reimposed a mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, for all indoor pubic spaces.

They are also pushing for more residents to be vaccinated, assuring them the three authorized COVID Vaccines "are extraordinarily safe."

The vaccines, said County Health Director Barbara Ferrer, "have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."

"To date, the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines have found only three very rare types of health problems after vaccination," Ferrer said.

She added that the "benefits of the vaccine overwhelming (sic) outweigh the very small risk" of serious side effects.

Those who caution about the potential risks note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or licensed the vaccines, which were fast-tracked and authorized for emergency use under former President Trump.

According to the fact sheets for recipients and caregivers, Moderna and Pfizer both note that "there is a remote chance" the vaccines could cause "a severe allergic reaction."

Those who "had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose" or "have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient" in the vaccines should not get the shot, the companies warned last month.

The two drug makers also noted that "serious and unexpected side effects may occur," adding that the two vaccines are "still being studied in clinical trials."

As of Monday, 5,967,490 Los Angeles County residents over the age of 16 -- or 71.7 percent -- had received at least one dose of the vaccines.

The vaccination rate was higher in Santa Monica, where 65,666 residents over 16 -- or 80.5 percent -- were vaccinated.

In LA County, Black residents continue to have the lowest vaccination rate, with less than half -- 47.6 percent -- of those over 16 receiving at least one dose.

That compares with 77.4 percent for Asians, 67.4 percent for Whites and 56.9 percent for Latinos.

To date, there have been 1,305,704 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 24,690 virus-related deaths in LA County, which has a population of more than 10 million.

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