The average age of Californians who have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began is 73. But it's dropping quickly—down to 67 since April, the Los Angeles Times reports. It has to do with vaccinations, health experts say. More than 80% of adults over 50 and seniors have been vaccinated, state data show, while the rate is 76% for younger adults and 63% for ages 12 to 17. Those rates are higher than those in many other states, but that still leaves many people unvaccinated, and they're contracting the virus at higher rates than Californians who've had the shots.
In addition, men are making up a higher share of COVID-19 fatalities. Men accounted for 54.6% of COVID-19 deaths a year ago and 58.9% as of August. There's a vaccination gap there, too: 47.6% of California's vaccine doses have gone to men, though they make up 49.7% of the eligible population. Los Angeles County reports its death rate for all groups has been increasing lately among the unvaccinated. For the state overall, new infections and hospitalizations have plunged lately, and California's rate of new cases is now the lowest in the US.
But health officials aren't relaxing yet. The state is making plans for a push to administer more vaccinations and booster shots as soon as possible, per Cap Radio News. As many as 250,000 people could want the booster, said the state's secretary of Health and Human Services. "We're working hard to make sure, not only are we prepared to provide it, but those who are eligible know that they're eligible and know when the time is right to come in," said Dr. Mark Ghaly. (Read more California stories.)