Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for a booster dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 at least five months after completion of the primary vaccine series.
Pfizer requested this EUA at the end of April, citing company data that showed that a third vaccine dose raised omicron-fighting antibodies by 36 times in this age group.
"We're seeing the most infectious variants that we've ever seen," said L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer. "That means the virus that's circulating now is most easily transmitted."
More than 40 people visited a vaccine clinic at the Balboa Sports Complex in Encino on Saturday, including a mix of adults and children getting their first, second or third doses.
COVID cases among eligible children have increased by 264% this month, according to public health officials. Plus, new data shows hospitalizations for those 17 and under are up more than 16% over the past week nationwide.
"Most of those children were vaccinated back in November, December," said Ferrer. "They're now more than five months out. It would be time you know, to sort of re-pump up our immune systems if we're that far out from our initial series."
The rise in cases has since pushed L.A. County into the federal government's "medium risk" category.
Meanwhile, the county's health department has extended its mask mandate on public transit for another 30 days.
The message public health officials are sending is simple: get your booster shot.
"Nobody should want to get infected, so let's just do everything we can to keep ourselves safe and keep everyone around us safe," said Ferrer.
The pop-up clinic in Encino will be open Wednesday through Sunday every week from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and no appointment is needed.