New coronavirus cases per week in Malibu.jpg

With community-specific vaccination data out for the first time this week, some may be surprised to see Malibu ranking lower in its cumulative vaccination rate compared to tony enclaves like Beverly Hills and Palos Verdes Estates. However, with 16.8 percent of residents in Malibu having received at least one dose of the two-part vaccine regimen, Malibu is comparable to other cities that have seen minimal infection rates, such as Westlake Village and Avalon.

This week, the LA County Department of Public Health began releasing data on vaccination rates in communities around Los Angeles County, revealing that just about 4 out of every 25 Malibuites have so far received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

While 16.8 percent of Malibuites have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, nearly double that, 29.2 percent, have been vaccinated in Beverly Hills. The nearby cities of Agoura Hills (19.5 percent), Calabasas (24.2 percent) and Hidden Hills (23.2 percent) all have higher vaccination rates; however, Westlake Village which, like Malibu, has seen consistently low rates of viral transmission, currently has 13.1 percent of residents inoculated against the novel coronavirus. 

Vaccine distribution inequity continues

On Monday, the LA Times published a report stating that “A California program intended to improve COVID-19 vaccine availability to people in hard-hit communities of color is being misused by outsiders who are grabbing appointments reserved for residents of underserved Black and Latino areas.” Essentially, the reporting stated “affluent professional and social networks” (“the work-from-home set”) were spreading vaccine codes meant to ensure vulnerable populations would have spots in line for the potentially lifesaving inoculations.

By Tuesday, the Times reported, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state would change the system to prevent misuse. According to the report, last Saturday, Newsom remarked that a trip to a mobile vaccination clinic at the Ramona Gardens public housing development in Boyle Heights made it “pretty clear at that public housing site that not everyone was from that community.” Newsom did not immediately disclose what those changes might be.

New virus strain emerges

For months, news has circulated about new, highly transmissible coronavirus variants from the UK and South Africa, but scientists now say a variant strain that emerged in California in 2020 could also be more transmissible than the original Wuhan strain.

In a report published Tuesday and cited by multiple sources, scientists at UC San Francisco called the California strain a “variant of concern.”

“The devil is already here,” Dr. Charles Chiu, who led the UCSF team of geneticists, epidemiologists, statisticians and other scientists in a wide-ranging analysis of the new variant, told an LA Times reporter. “I wish it were different. But the science is the science.”

Although the new variant spreads more easily, some scientists were quick to point out that does not mean it is necessarily more deadly. It may, however, be “more resistant to current vaccines,” according to livescience.com.

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