Unlike LA, no COVID-19 vaccine mandate coming to San Diego – The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego County officials don’t plan to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry into restaurants, shopping centers and other indoor settings, local officials announced Wednesday.

The news comes a week after the Los Angeles City Council voted 11-2 to require proof of full vaccination at indoor venues throughout the city. That mandate takes effect in November. But Nathan Fletcher, chair of the Board of Supervisors, says the county likely won’t follow suit.

“Our vaccination rates are some of the highest in the nation and our COVID cases are clearly declining,” said Fletcher in a statement. “At this time, San Diego County has no plans to mandate vaccines at local businesses.”

It also doesn’t seem that the state plans to issue any vaccine mandate. In response to a Union-Tribune inquiry, the California Department of Public Health said that individual counties can take pandemic precautions that are stricter than the state’s stance, adding that, if there are changes in state policy, the agency will announce them publicly.

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The city of San Diego doesn’t plan to mandate indoor vaccination either, according to Courtney Pittam, press secretary for Mayor Todd Gloria, unless the county changes its guidance.

It’s not the first time San Diego and Los Angeles have taken different approaches to controlling the spread of the coronavirus. In July, Los Angeles County reinstated an indoor mask mandate in a bid to slow a surge of cases and hospitalizations fueled by the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus. Weeks later, local officials asked San Diegans to mask up, too, whether they were vaccinated or not, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the local announcement was simply a recommendation, not a mandate.

Yet infections and hospitalizations have steadily decreased in San Diego. On July 23, the county reported about 1,200 new cases, the highest single-day total since February. Lately, it’s been more common for the region to report around 400 to 600 cases each day, and the percent of tests coming back positive has also dipped.

One potential reason for this improvement in the absence of a mask mandate is that San Diego has a higher vaccination rate than Los Angeles. About 70 percent of Los Angelinos 12 and up are fully immunized, according to the county’s public health department, compared to roughly 80 percent of San Diegans 12 and older.

It’s clear that those who aren’t fully vaccinated are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. County figures released last week showed that residents who weren’t fully vaccinated accounted for 80 percent of infections, 97 percent of hospitalization and 83 percent of COVID-19 deaths between early September and early October.

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