An outdated vaccine could be to blame for LA's COVID surge

Relaxed public measures, a new variant, and increased travel are also likely contributors to LA’s rising COVID cases.

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As new reports show the number of COVID-19 cases doubled within a month in Los Angeles County and across California, an outdated vaccine may be to blame.

People should check whether their last vaccine was the latest one, according to nurse practitioner Alice Benjamin, because the older version of the vaccine may not protect them from the new FLiRT variant.

“If you got it in October and later, that’s generally the updated vaccine,” Benjamin said. “If you got it prior to October, double check because if you did get the bivalent which has not been phased out, we recommend you do get an updated vaccine.”

Specifically, Benjamin said that people need to look out for whether they have received the monovalent vaccine offered by Pfizer and Moderna.

The nurse practitioner added a few other summertime factors may be driving up the COVID numbers.

“People aren’t necessarily wearing masks; they’re not required to in certain places,” Benjamin said. “We’re traveling, we’re getting out for the summer. We also do have some reduced immunity. The vaccines will wane overtime.

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, after more than 118,000 cases and 4,291 deaths were registered.

For high risk populations, Benjamin emphasizes that two vaccines are recommended, with a second dose at least four months after the first.

“Per CDC recommendations, anyone 6 months or older should have at least one of the updated COVID vaccines,” Benjamin said.

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