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Health Experts Urge People To Get Vaccinated — And Mask Up — As COVID Cases Continue To Climb

A woman wearing medical clothing and a face mask that says UC Irvine Health receives an injection in her left arm from another health care worker who is wearing rubber gloves, a face mask and face shield.
Health experts are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated to reduce the spread of COVID and curtail rising case numbers.
(Chava Sanchez
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As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, as well as here in Los Angeles County, health experts are renewing their calls for people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

A lot of those unvaccinated patients are young adults. A study from UC San Francisco researchers found about a quarter of unvaccinated people ages 18-to-25 say they "probably will not" or "definitely will not" get a shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Sam Torbati is co-chair of the department of emergency medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He says he's disappointed — but not surprised with these numbers.

"Reaching 18-to-25-year-olds for health-related interventions and preventive therapy is hard," Dr. Torbati said on our newsroom's public affairs show AirTalk, which airs on 89.3 KPCC. "They're young. They're healthy. They're athletic. They've never seen illness. They haven't suffered pain. They're convinced that they're invincible and nothing is gonna happen to them."

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He emphasized that there have been plenty of young COVID-19 patients since the pandemic began and that all young people should take the precaution of getting vaccinated to prevent potential transmission.

He also encouraged those holding off on the vaccine due to a previous COVID case to get vaccinated, as it is still unclear how much natural immunity a person has after recovering from the virus and how long that lasts.

"What we do know is that the immunity that is elicited through these vaccines is so much more potent in many ways, than the natural infection, that it provides incredible additional protection to patients, even those who had the illness itself," Dr. Torbati said.

If you've had COVID and have recovered, you can get vaccinated at any time. One exception: The CDC says people who've received monoclonal antibodies as part of their treatment for the virus should wait 90 days before getting vaccinated.

As for being out and about in the world, with cases on the rise and the highly contagious Delta variant circulating in the community, L.A. County health officials are urging all residents — even people who are fully vaccinated — to wear face coverings in any indoor setting where you don't know everyone's vaccination status.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital, explained his own best practices:

"I wear a mask if I'm indoors, at the grocery store. If I'm outdoors in a crowded situation like the farmers market, I don't know any of those people. I don't know if they're vaccinated or not. In the office environment where I work at, I know exactly who's vaccinated and who's not. And the vast majority of people I work with are vaccinated and I feel very comfortable interacting with them."

And a reminder — anyone who isn't fully vaccinated is required to wear a face covering in businesses and other indoor public settings.

What questions do you have about vaccines?