coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 Surges as Booster Efforts Slow Down in San Diego County

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ten months ago the lines at vaccination sites in San Diego County stretched for blocks, people waited for hours just to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

With the surge of the highly infectious omicron variant and with its subvariant known as BA.2 now also making its rounds doctors expected the rush to come back, this time for booster shots. But that’s yet to be seen.

“I haven’t made an appointment, but I believe it's really needed,” said Arturo, a San Diego resident.

Arturo is one of the many county residents who despite being vaccinated still hasn’t gone back for his booster.

“For work-related reasons, I haven't had a chance to go, but I have to do it as soon as possible,” said Arturo.

He's not the only one.

While at least 83% of San Diegan's have been vaccinated, according to county data, only about 36% of them have been boosted. 

“It worries me,” said Dr. Davey Smith, infectious disease specialist at UCSD. “We know that this new variant omicron and the son of omicron are more infectious."

Smith says there are several factors to blame for this.

“I have to talk people into them, my patients into them,” said Smith. “Some of that has to do with well, you know, ‘I got two shots, I should be okay.’ And the other one [I hear] is that some people had some reactions to their first shots, you know, fevers chills not feeling so well and that makes them a little more adverse to getting the next shot.”

On top of that, Smith says many people still don't understand the urgency for boosters. He warns without them we can't combat the identified variants and those still to be found. 

“It's going to require more than what we got it with our first two shots to really protect us from this new variant,” said Smith. “And that's when the booster comes in.”

He reminds San Diegans the pandemic isn't over and advices we all do our part. 

“I think we can all be good neighbors," said Smith.

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