Only 8.5% of California Asians have updated their vaccine, booster
FOR families everywhere, the beginning of November ushers in the excitement for upcoming holiday gatherings.
But it also means the onset of regular viral outbreaks, like the flu, respiratory virus (RSV), and, now, coronavirus.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is currently on a campaign to remind Californians to prioritize updating their vaccines, especially as national as well as cultural holiday gatherings are afoot.
The updated COVID-19 vaccine became available in September, but as of Oct. 31, only about 6.7% of all Californians have received it.
“For many Asian cultures, we value and need this intergenerational social connectedness, as we look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, but also Diwali, Japanese and Chinese new years, and other Asian celebrations,” said Rohan Radharkrishna, chief equity officer for the CDPH.
He added, “So, now is the time to get vaccinated to update your family and community immunity to prepare for the celebrations and winter gatherings, but the problem is that winter viruses can get in the way and pose serious health risks to our gatherings and cultural celebrations.”
While the numbers for COVID-19 are currently low, Radhakrishna said that health officials “anticipate cases to rise as it has each of the previous winters.”
As of Oct. 31, 8.5% of Asians in California are up to date on the latest COVID-19 vaccine. The rate for Asians aged 50 to 60 is 9.9%, and for those 65 and above, the rate is 16%.
“Overall, we know this is too low to be prepared for the fall and winter celebration season, so we need higher vaccination rates across the board, but especially for older Asians, who are at greater risk of getting sick,” Radhakrishna said.
He added that it is safe to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines on the same day and that the RSV virus vaccine is currently available, as well. Anyone aged 6 months or above is eligible for the COVID-19 and flu vaccines.
Local officials are also stressing the importance of getting updated vaccines to avoid compacting hospitals and medical clinics.
“We have a good supply of COVID-19 and flu vaccines in Los Angeles County and there are options for everyone 6 months and older,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. “I hope that if many people take advantage of the updated vaccines, L.A. County can avoid a big surge in respiratory virus cases this winter that strains our healthcare system and leads to more deaths.”
As always, these vaccines are available for free for those who are uninsured and insured, and they are currently available at various pharmacies and through health insurance plans; patients can find vaccine providers at the state-ran https://myturn.ca.gov/. (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)