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LA County issues vaccine requirement

The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors discusses plans to slowly implement a vaccine mandate across the county, shortly following full approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA.

By Marcos Franco, Managing Editor

Los Angeles County issues a vaccine requirement for patrons looking to enter businesses. (Graphic Illustration by Vickie Guzman/The Valley Star)

Los Angeles County has mandated a vaccine requirement that will require proof of vaccination to enter businesses including bars, breweries, wineries and nightclubs.

Patrons hoping to enter listed establishments will be required to show proof of at least one dose of the vaccine beginning on Oct. 7 and be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4. This order follows the board of supervisors meeting last Wednesday in an attempt to limit virus transmission in Los Angeles. The mandate will apply to all parts of the county except Long Beach and Pasadena which have their own health departments. Although the order does not include restaurants, public health officials suggest vaccine verification for indoor dining.

“This is a reasonable path forward that will position us to be better able to break the cycle of surges,” said LA County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer during Wednesday's meeting, according to the LA Times.

The LA City Council first began discussions of a vaccine mandate in early August, an ordinance that covered most businesses throughout the city of Los Angeles. Vaccine requirements are still an ongoing discussion among the council, which plans to soon implement a more thorough vaccine mandate for the city.

The city of West Hollywood issued an emergency executive order on Oct. 11, requiring anyone visiting businesses or city facilities in West Hollywood to provide proof of vaccination. This sweeping mandate targets more than the nightlife gatherings covered in LA County’s order and also includes restaurants, salons, barbershops and health and fitness centers.

Certain businesses and concert venues throughout LA County including Walt Disney Concert Hall had announced plans to require full vaccination by Oct. 9, prior to the announcement of a local ordinance.

After full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine on Aug. 23, a regulation requiring the vaccine became easier for local government to implement. The Pfizer shot is approved for individuals 16 and older, although health officials recommend the vaccine for anyone 12 years old and up. Rather than being on an emergency use authorization, full approval ensures that the vaccine has been tested for at least six months following the EUA and the benefits far outweigh the side effects.

There are currently three accepted versions of proof of vaccination. One is the standard CDC issued vaccination card including name, type of vaccine provided and dates of doses. The second is documentation of vaccination provided by a healthcare provider. Digital vaccine records, typically in the form of QR codes, are also accepted to verify vaccination status. A photo of either version will be accepted.

Discussion of phony vaccination cards being sold on the internet as well as social media platforms including facebook and instagram have become increasingly popular with forged cards being sold for up to $250 according to NPR. This continuing trend could prove to be a challenge for public safety officials at ensuring vaccine records are legitimate. The purchase or sale of Fake COVID-19 vaccination cards is a federal offense that carries a fine up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison. The FBI released a public service announcement, alerting people of the growing trend in illegitimate cards.

By misrepresenting yourself as vaccinated when entering schools, mass transit, workplaces, gyms, or places of worship, you put yourself and others around you at risk of contracting COVID-19, '' read the statement. “Additionally, the unauthorized use of an official government agency's seal (such as HHS or the CDC) is a crime.”

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