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COVID-19: Small Sign of Hope as Vaccinations Rise

Both California and Cedars-Sinai See Uptick in People Requesting First-Dose Vaccinations

As COVID-19 cases spike in Los Angeles and throughout the Golden State, driven by the spread of the delta variant among unvaccinated residents, there may be a small sign of hope: More people are finally getting their shot.

California saw total number of first vaccine doses administered increase by 20% to more than 265,000 the week of July 19 compared to the week of July 12, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom. Cedars-Sinai health professionals also observed that trend, with the total number of people getting their first vaccine doses increasing by about 40% to almost 600 the week of July 26 compared to the week of July 19.

"Any increase in the number of individuals being vaccinated at this point is very welcome news," said infectious disease specialist Soniya Gandhi, MD, vice president of Medical Affairs and associate chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai. "We can't be certain, but it would seem—hopefully—that people are heeding the call that vaccination is still extremely protective against severe disease and death from the delta variant, and the most powerful tool we have to get control of this pandemic."

Some getting vaccinated say they are motivated by concerns about protecting not only themselves but also vulnerable loved ones.

At a recent vaccination pop-up clinic that Cedars-Sinai hosted in South Los Angeles, Maria Castro, 15, said she was getting her shot because her grandmother could not, owing to a health condition.

"By getting vaccinated, I am protecting her," Castro said of her grandmother. "I got vaccinated today to protect myself and my family members.”

Another newly vaccinated attendee, Angele Reeves-Flores, 34, had already seen her own grandmother become ill. Getting the shot gave Reeves-Flores peace of mind.

"My 86-year-old grandma got COVID," Reeves-Flores said. "I do not want to be the reason she got even mild symptoms.”

Regardless of what may be driving the rise in vaccinations, the increase is welcome news to frontline medical staff who feel anxious and frustrated as they watch the number of COVID-19 patients swell once more.

"It's great that people are doing their part to try and slow this down," said intensive care specialist Isabel Pedraza, MD, director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai. "The numbers of COVID-19 patients are clearly climbing in the hospital now, and virtually every one of those patients is unvaccinated. Seeing vaccinations increase makes me hopeful that maybe we won't see as big of a spike as last time."

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: What to Do With Your COVID-19 Vaccination Card