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County Health Pushes New COVID Booster


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By Jorge Casuso

April 4, 2024 -- LA County Health officials are urging residents to get the newly-released COVID booster shot despite key indicators showing the virus is rapidly waning and a major study that reveals rare, but serious, vaccine-related risks.

In a press release Thursday, health officials urged older adults "already up to date on their vaccines" to get "an additional updated vaccine dose this spring."

Officials also recommended the booster -- the third since the initial vaccine rollout in late 2020 -- for "everyone 6 months and older, regardless of prior vaccination or infection status."

The campaign comes amid a persistent hesitancy among the vast majority of the population to continue receiving boosters against the coronavirus.

According to the CDC, "only about 22 percent of adults in the US have gotten a COVID-19 booster this season, and just over 40 percent of people ages 65 and up have gotten the shot."

In LA County, only 13 percent of the population of 10.3 million are up to date with their vaccinations, County data show.

According to the data, the average daily number of cases, as well as the more accurate wastewater concentration of SARS-CoV-2, dropped by half between January 31 and February 21.

The daily average number of COVID-positive hospitalizations also dropped during the same period -- from 658 to 376. Meanwhile, the daily average number of people who died with the virus dropped from 5 to 3.6.

LA County Public Health ended its weekly COVID-19 news release effective February 22.

The rollout of updated vaccines comes as studies show their effectiveness waning after several months.

A study published in January by BMJ, a weekly British peer-reviewed medical journal, found that "vaccine effectiveness of three doses against emergency department or urgent care visits was 83% (82% to 84%) initially but waned to 46% (44% to 49%) by four to five months.

"Waning was evident in all subgroups, including young adults and individuals who were not immunocompromised; although waning was more in people who were immunocompromised," the study found.

Other studies have shown that the COVID vaccinations -- which are not required to undergo the lengthy testing mandated for other drugs -- don't come without serious risk.

The risks were recently outlined in an international study of 99 million people published in February 12 in the journal Vaccine.

According to, "the Vaccine study confirmed that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are linked in rare cases to myocarditis and pericarditis, conditions involving inflammation of the heart muscle and lining.

"The rate of myocarditis was most elevated after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine. Myocarditis risk -- which is greatest in men in their late teens and early twenties -- was identified via vaccine safety monitoring and first reported in 2021."

The site, a project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center, added that according to the CDC, "the benefit of vaccination outweighs the risk of these conditions, which improve for most people after medical treatment and rest."

The study published in Vaccine also "confirmed neurological and blood clotting conditions associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine," according to

"In the U.S., these problems were linked to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, contributing to this vaccine no longer being recommended or available."

In addition, the study "identified a new possible safety signal indicating a potential link between the first dose of the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines and rare neurological conditions.

"This included an association between the first doses of the vaccines and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord."

The widespread vaccination hesitancy -- also spurred by wider dissemination of information suppressed during the coronavirus emergency -- is reflected in the drop in Moderna stock.

The company, which recently released an updated vaccine called mRNA-1283 that reportedly has a longer shelf life, saw stocks fall 28 percent over the past year, according to a report posted last month on MSN.

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