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Updated State and County Health Orders to include mandatory vaccines for senior care facility workers

On September 28, the California State Public Health Officer (CDPH) issued a new health order to address mandatory vaccination for workers in adult and senior care facilities, as well as workers providing services in a recipient’s home. Workers identified in the order must have their first dose of a one-dose regimen, or their second dose of a two-dose regimen, by November 30, 2021 with limited exemptions. The full State Health Order can be found here.

Also, on September 28, County Health Officer, Dr. Clayton Chau, issued a revised local health order to reflect new and recent guidance on COVID-19 isolation and quarantine issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDPH. A key update to the health order includes:

  • Persons exposed to COVID-19 and not fully vaccinated are allowed 7-day quarantine with testing or 10-day quarantine without testing

For the full County Health Officer Order, please visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/article/oc-health-officers-orders-recommendations.

CDC Health Advisory on COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant People

On September 29, the CDC released a new health advisory recommending urgent action to increase COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), trying to become pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

Based on data demonstrating safety and effectiveness, the CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy as evidence supports the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus/infant outweighing known or potential risks. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can prevent severe illness, death, and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19.

For the full CDC Health Advisory, please click here.

Recommendation for Pfizer Vaccine Booster

On September 24, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup endorsed the recommendation from the CDC for the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine to be administered as a booster dose to certain individuals, six months or more after they have completed the primary series of the Pfizer vaccine. According to the CDC’s recommendation:

People previously vaccinated with Pfizer who SHOULD receive a booster include those who are:

  • Age 65 years and older;
  • Long term care residents; and
  • Age 50 through 64 years with underlying medical conditions or at increased risk of social inequities (including communities of color and others at risk of inequities).

People who MAY CONSIDER receiving a booster based on their individual benefits and risks include those who are:

  • Age 18 through 49 years with underlying medical conditions; and
  • Age 18 through 64 who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their occupation or institutional setting.

“It’s important to understand that the booster dose only applies to people who received the Pfizer vaccine for their initial series, not those who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (J&J),” says Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, Deputy County Health Officer. “The Moderna and J&J vaccines have not been approved for booster doses.”

Dr. Chinsio-Kwong further advises that the booster dose should not be confused with the “third” dose of mRNA vaccines recommended for individuals ages 18 and over (Moderna), and 12 years and older (Pfizer), with moderate to severe immune compromise conditions.

The difference between “booster” and “third” dose includes:

  • A booster dose is administered in response to waning immunity over time, which Pfizer’s reported data indicates may exist in individuals who completed the initial series of the Pfizer vaccine. None of the other COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna and J&J) are currently authorized for booster doses.
  • A third (or additional) dose is one additional mRNA injection (Moderna or Pfizer) given to ensure adequate primary response to COVID-19 vaccination in people who are moderately to severely immune compromised and may not be adequately protected by their initial two-dose series.

Status of COVID-19 Cases in Orange County

COVID-19 cases continue to decline in Orange County, although ICU admissions saw a slight increase. Between September 24 and September 30, the seven-day average COVID-19 case rate dropped from 11.5 to 8.8 per 100,000 people, with the average number of daily COVID-19 cases declining from 371.3 to 285.1. The positivity rate also decreased from 3.6 to 3 percent and hospitalizations from 308 to 279 per day. ICU admissions increased from 76 to 85 per day. Orange County COVID-19 case counts and testing figures are updated daily, Monday through Friday, at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

“As a whole county, we are now over 71% fully vaccinated among our eligible residents age 12 and older, with 78% of our eligible population having received at least one dose,” says Dr. Chinsio-Kwong. “We are also making a great deal of progress with vaccinations in our more densely populated cities, especially as we continue our efforts on our high risk and hard-to-reach areas. For example, over a week period from September 20 to September 27, Anaheim as a city vaccinated over 1,600 in a one-week period, and Santa Ana vaccinated almost 1,800, most of whom were from the Latinx Community. We are continuing to work closely with our community partners to find ways to reach this last 20% of our population who remain unvaccinated, to provide the necessary education and deliver vaccines to them.”

Vaccination continues to be the most effective way to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Vaccines are widely available throughout Orange County for walk-in, same day and future appointments. As the OC Health Care Agency focuses on delivering vaccines and providing education to our most vulnerable population and hard-to-reach communities, individuals who are not yet vaccinated or are interested in receiving a booster dose are encouraged to visit any local pharmacy or healthcare provider, or go online to Vaccines.gov, MyTurn.ca.gov or Othena.com, to schedule a vaccination appointment.

For more information on available vaccine distribution channels in Orange County, please visit COVIDVaccineFacts.com and click on “Find a COVID-19 Vaccine”.

This article was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.