California Covid-19 Test Positivity Rate Rises For The First Time This Year
“I encourage everyone to take advantage [of the vaccine] next week everyone is over 16, ”California Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday. State residents may find it difficult to follow the governor’s advice, however, as California is expected to see a 15% drop in overall vaccine supply and an 88% drop in Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines, while millions more residents will become eligible for vaccination.
When Newsom announced the expansion of vaccine eligibility to all residents over 16 on April 15, there were concerns about the vaccine supply. The governor himself said the state’s immunization program was limited only by the supply of manufactured goods.
At the time of the announcement, a statement from the governor’s office said, “California expects to receive approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week during the first half of April, and over 3 million of doses during the second half of April. “
California Covid-19 Test Positivity Rate Rises For The First Time This Year
Late Wednesday, the governor’s office revealed that projected allocations had dropped precipitously. This week, the allocation was 2.4 million doses. Next week, however, it will drop to 2 million doses, a 15% drop. The following week, only 1.9 million doses, down 5%. This is more than a million doses less than the “3 million doses expected during the second half of April”.
The supply will be even tighter for those looking for the first few doses. Although this week 1.49 million first injections are available, that supply will decrease by 1/3 next week to 1 million and by 4% the following week to only 956,000 first doses.
The decreases are mainly due to a drop in the supply of J&J vaccines after a manufacturing error in a Baltimore facility contaminated 15 million doses.
When asked about the error on April 1, Newsom was optimistic saying, “Here’s what we were told: that our three-week window on J&J was not affected by this manufacturing issue in Baltimore, which means – let me be specific – that we anticipate receiving 572,700 doses thereafter [now this] J&J week, 215,400 doses one week later and 215,400 doses the following week. “
California health officials, however, announced Wednesday night that if J&J’s allocation for this week was 574,900 doses, next week’s would only be 67,600, and then the week after 22,400. is not good.
While only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 16- and 17-year-olds, Johnson & Johnson’s drop in doses is putting the brakes on the entire system, forcing health officials to prioritize second doses to ensure the Many of those who have recently received their first injections will be able to complete their vaccinations, even when stocks are low.
California health officials point out that these three-week projections represent only about 70% of the state’s supply. There is another 30% sent by the federal government directly to pharmacies, some mass vaccination sites and other entities. Some of these doses may come from supply pools unaffected by the manufacturing accident in Baltimore. Newsom himself received such a dose, announcing moments after being vaccinated on April 1, “The dose of J&J I just received is from the Netherlands. It’s independent of that [state] supply.”
The governor also said at the time that the state expected an increase in supplies from Pfizer and Moderna. That doesn’t appear to have come to fruition, however, as the total projections for the coming weeks are more than the number of missing J&J doses.
California officials note that states across the country are seeing rushed drops of J&J vaccine in the coming weeks. This is absolutely true. The difference is that not all of these states planned an aggressive expansion of immunization eligibility at exactly the same time.
The last time the governor announced a major extension of vaccine eligibility was on March 15, when he ordered appointments for the Covid-19 vaccine to be accessible to people aged 16 to 65. years old with an underlying health problem. This group included 4.4 million Californians.
The timing of this expansion was also problematic. It directly coincided with what Marta Green – a state official overseeing the third-party vaccine administrator – called a “really tough” time.
“When we look at the concrete information that we have,” said Green, “this 3-week CDC screening, I hate to tell you that, it’s entirely flat. There is not one [additional] dose. Not one.”
The governor has therefore considerably expanded the pool of Californians eligible for vaccines at the same time when the state would no longer have additional supplies. State county health officials have expressed concerns – not for the first time.
On the second day of his term, President Biden promised local health officials a three-week window on vaccine supplies. As of March 31, Newsom had still not provided Los Angeles officials with projections for more than a week.
Why are three week projections important? Vaccination sites should be able to organize appointments for a certain number of appointments corresponding to the number of doses received. Ideally, this is a process that takes place weeks in advance. When it doesn’t, you get examples like Dodger Stadium, which can deliver over 7,000 vaccinations a day, but was cut short last month because vaccine deliveries did not match appointments. . Thus, the largest vaccination site in the country had to close its doors for two days.
“This week we only received 16,000 new doses,” said Mayor Garcetti at the time. “That’s about the number of new doses we give each day,” he said. “This is a drop of 90,000 from the previous week. This is unacceptable. “
President Biden also promised that there will be enough vaccines to open eligibility to everyone by April 19. However, local health officials in California have repeatedly encountered state-level bottlenecks. These issues center on promises made and promises kept – and the lack of information about Sacramento’s vaccine supply.
Asked at the end of February about the lack of transparency, the governor said: “Next week the counties will start getting their three-week window, particularly on March 1.” But March 1 has come and gone and Newsom’s promise has not been kept. He then said on March 15. This date also came and went, without movement.
Last week, Los Angeles public health officials said, for the first time, that they had three-week screenings. This achievement, however, was short-lived. Asked about the lack of predictable appointments this week, LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday, “We are still struggling to free up appointments in advance. We will really try to get a smoother forecast. “
It’s problematic that there is still turmoil and uncertainty in California’s largest metropolis as the state attempts its biggest eligibility expansion yet next week. And these newly-eligible Californians, aged 16 to 49, may be the group most in need of the vaccine right now.
Figures shared by Los Angeles County public health officials on Wednesday indicate that Covid-related hospitalizations have increased over the past two weeks with each age cohort between 12 and 49 (recall here that people 50 years and over became eligible last week while those aged 65). + have been vaccinated since mid-January.) See table below.
Cases among young adults are also increasing across the country, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The trends and data indicate that cases are increasing nationwide, as we are seeing that this is mostly happening in young adults,” she says Monday.
These findings were amplified a day later by Dr Anthony Fauci. “We are seeing more and more young people having serious problems,” he said, “namely serious illnesses, requiring hospitalization and sometimes even tragic deaths in quite young people.
It may have something to do with the rise of more infectious variants across the country and the increased susceptibility of young Americans to these variants compared to the country’s older, more vaccinated population. This is a trend that California is not immune to.
The state and some of its larger communities have started to see the number of Covids increase again. This comes as the majority of the Covid-19 test samples genomically analyzed in Los Angeles County last week were found to be worrying variants, meaning that the variants are now more common than the ‘wild’ version of the virus. That list was led by the most infectious UK variant – known as B.1.1.7 – which this week also became the dominant strain in the U.S. The CDC says the UK variant is 50% more transmissible than the wild variant.
Of course, this week alone, Newsom announced that the state plans to drop most of its restrictions on Covid-19 on June 15 as long as the number of infections and vaccinations continues to move in the right direction.
The rising numbers, if they continue, could test Governor Newsom’s assertion this week – and the past year – that any reopening will be “data driven. “