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The number of people getting their first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine increased last week by 40 percent compared to the week before at Cedars-Sinai, and health officials statewide also are reporting an uptick in first-dose vaccinations.

“More people are finally getting their shot,” Cedars-Sinai officials said this week as they compared vaccine distribution between the weeks of July 19 and July 26, having dosed 600 people last week. Statewide, California reported an increase of 20 percent in the total number of first vaccine doses administered to more than 265,000 people the week of July 19 compared to the week of July 12.

“Any increase in the number of individuals being vaccinated at this point is very welcome news,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Soniya Gandhi, who is the vice president of Medical Affairs and associate chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai.

Gandhi emphasized that the vaccination remains “the most powerful tool we have to get control of this pandemic.”

Cedars-Sinai officials said the increase could be due to the recent spike in the spread of the virus. Los Angeles has been experiencing sharp increases in daily case numbers, hospitalizations and test-positivity rates over the past several weeks, with the increases attributed to the highly infectious Delta variant.

“Over the past eight months, millions of people in the U.S., and around the world, have been safely vaccinated. The data overwhelmingly shows the vaccines to be effective at preventing serious illness that causes hospitalization, and death,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, county public health director. “To really beat back transmission, however, we need to have higher levels of vaccination, particularly among our younger residents.”

Ferrer said the county is witnessing small but steady increases in the number of people receiving a first dose. Between July 19 and 25, about 70,000 doses were administered in the county, up about 7,500 from the previous week.