COVID-19 Updates and Variants

UPDATE: 2/22/22

Effective Monday, February 21, MLKCH will allow one visitor per patient during visiting hours (8AM-8PM) in accordance with CDPH requirements. Full details on this policy can be found here.  We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

Omicron Variant

Nov. 30, 2021- A new and potentially more transmittable COVID variant, called Omicron, has been reported in twenty countries thus far. It is too soon to tell, as there is no firm evidence, whether Omicron causes more severe disease than any other COVID variant. 

The facts:

  • According to the CDC, no cases of the Omicron variant have been identified in the U.S. to date.
  • New variants of the virus are expected to occur. Taking measures to reduce the spread of infection, including getting a COVID-19 vaccine, is the best way to slow the emergence of new variants.
  • The COVID vaccines remain the best protection against any strain of the virus and are even expected to provide some protection against the Omicron variant, especially if you have received your booster shot.
  • See more on the Omicron variant here on the CDC website.

It’s easy and free to get a COVID vaccine at any of MLKCH's three South LA locations or at our mobile clinics. See all of our listings here and book an appointment by calling 424-329-8904 or registering online. 

Who is eligible for which vaccines? See below to learn more. 

Initial COVID vaccines:

  • CDC recommends everyone ages five and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.
    • Anyone age five and up is eligible and encouraged to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations.
    • Anyone age 12 and up is eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID vaccinations.
    • Anyone age 18 and up is eligible for any of the three vaccinations: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson. 

COVID booster shots:

  • Anyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated: 
    • At least six months after completing a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccination series.
    • Al least two months after receiving the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 
    • You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot as mix and match dosing is approved.

For the immunocompromised

Separately, moderately to severely immunocompromised people should plan to get:

  • An additional primary dose 
  • Followed by a booster dose

Visit this CDC page for more information on COVID vaccines. 

Delta Variant

July 2021 Dr. Eriko Masuda, infectious disease specialist, answers your top questions about the Delta variant of COVID-19. While there is cause for some concern, there is good news: vaccinations have shown to prevent severe illness and hospitalization.

Want to book your COVID-19 vaccine? Make an appointment here or call 424-370-1868.

Dr. Eriko Masuda

What you need to know about the Delta variant of COVID-19

A new strain of the COVID-19 virus is on track to become the most prevalent (and dangerous). What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? Do the current COVID-19 vaccines protect against the Delta strain? We talk with Dr. Eriko Masuda, infectious disease specialist at MLKCH.

Why is the Delta variant of COVID-19 different from other strains of the COVID-19 virus?

Viruses are always mutating to try to get around the body’s defenses. This particular mutation has produced a virus that is far more contagious and that may be more resistant to some treatments, such as monoclonal antibody treatments. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said that the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19. The good news? Dr. Fauci said that the vaccines authorized in the United States work against the variant. “We have the tools,” he said. “So let’s use them, and crush the outbreak.”

How widespread is the Delta variant in California?

As of July 7th, 2021 there were 1,001 cases of the Delta variant in California. Those might seem like low numbers, but if this variant spreads more quickly than others, then the numbers could go up rapidly. The CDC and LA County health officials predict that there will be a significant increase in Delta cases in the weeks ahead among those who are not yet vaccinated.

Are the current COVID-19 vaccines effective in protecting against the Delta variant?

So far the research shows that the Pfizer vaccine is 94% effective at preventing hospitalization after the first dose and 95% after two doses. We don’t have research yet on Moderna, but as that vaccine functions in much the same way as the Pfizer vaccine, we anticipate similar high rates of effectiveness. So in short: these two leading vaccines are a pretty sure way of protecting yourself from even dangerous strains of COVID-19 like the Delta strain.

Additional resources: SARS-CoV-2 Variant Classifications and Definitions The world is worried about the Delta virus variant. Studies show vaccines are effective against it. The Delta Variant: What Scientists Know

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