Burbank passed a milestone in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic last week, with more than 70% of residents ages 16 and older at least partially vaccinated.
As of June 27, just over 63,000 Burbank residents — or 70.4% — in that broad age group have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the most current Los Angeles County data that is publicly available. President Joe Biden had emphasized the need to have 70% of American adults be at least partially vaccinated by July 4, though he recently announced that the nation would not reach that rate by the target date.
More than 83% of Burbank residents who are 65 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, as well as 62% of residents between 12 and 17.
However, as is the case across the state and county, the seven-day average for Burbank vaccinations is dropping. On average, about 75 doses a day were being administered to local residents across all age groups as of June 27, down from an average of 189 a day as of May 27.
And despite the promising vaccination rate for local residents who are 16 and older, public health experts have cautioned that the pandemic is not yet over. Shira Shafir, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences at UCLA, previously told the Leader that people coming in from neighboring cities with lower vaccination rates could continue coronavirus transmission in Burbank.
Only 57.6% of Glendale residents 16 and older had received at least one shot of the vaccine as of June 27, county public health data showed. That rate was 75.7% in Pasadena and 61.2% in Los Angeles’ Sun Valley neighborhood.
About 68.1% of L.A. County residents in the 16-and-older group had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of June 27. The county has also reported severe racial disparities in its vaccination results; 65% of white residents 16 and older have received at least one dose, compared to just over 44.3% of Black residents and 53.6% of Hispanic residents for the same age group.
Shafir also previously noted that younger populations — currently those younger than 12 — are not eligible for the vaccine, meaning reaching a high vaccination rate in the total population will be difficult until eligibility expands.
The county public health department does not list the percentage of Burbank’s overall population that has received a shot, though just over 65,000 residents had received at least one dose as of June 27. That figure would put Burbank’s total vaccination rate at roughly 63.5%, based on the 2019 population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau (L.A. County has its own population estimates for its cities, which it uses to calculate vaccination rates).
County public health officials have also expressed concern about the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is becoming increasingly common. The threat of the variant prompted county public health officials to strongly recommend this week that residents wear masks while indoors — regardless of vaccination status — until more information about the strain can be gathered.
Fully vaccinated people appear to be well-protected from the Delta variant, officials also said, though those who have been only partially vaccinated have less protection.
Still, public health experts remind county residents that the coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective against infection, and particularly against hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Among the roughly 4.4 million people fully vaccinated in mid-June, officials reported at the time, only 0.04% tested positive for COVID-19, 0.003% were hospitalized due to a coronavirus infection and 0.00004% — 19 people — died from the disease.
Though coronavirus cases and death rates remain low across the county, there have been increases in the former figure. The seven-day average for coronavirus cases reached 225 new cases a day toward the end of June, up from about 160 cases a day at the end of May.
In Burbank, that seven-day average hovered around two new cases a day at the end of June. The figure was higher at the end of May: more than three new cases a day.
Burbank also exceeded 9,000 cumulative coronavirus cases last week, when two additional COVID-19 deaths were reported, bringing the city’s total to 244.