San Diego County officials Monday encouraged thousands of eligible residents to get COVID-19 vaccine boosters and reminded those who have not yet received the shot that it is the best way to avoid severe symptoms from the virus.
Currently, only those who received their second dose of Pfizer vaccine more than six months ago, and meet certain other criteria, are eligible. The booster is the same shot distributed during the vaccination phase.
"If you initially received Moderna or Johnson and Johnson, you are not eligible for the Pfizer vaccine and so you will have to wait for FDA, CDC and Western States Group to give approval hopefully at some point in the future,” Fletcher said.
The CDC recommends the following groups get the booster:
- Those 65 and older
- Those 18 or older living in long-term care facilities; and
- Those 50-64 with underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer
Additional groups are eligible for the booster, including:
- Those 18-49 with health conditions
- Those 18-64 who work in occupations working with the public, such as:
- First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
- Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
More details about eligible groups can be found on the CDC website
Fletcher added that to receive the vaccine, those eligible should contact their health care providers or reach out to local pharmacies first, but county clinics that provide the first and second dose of the Pfizer shot will also provide boosters. Find a county-run site here or on the state's MyTurn website.
Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said in terms of vaccinations, the county was outpacing most of the state -- which already has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation -- and that San Diegans should be proud of their efforts to combat COVID-19.
"Our region is doing incredibly well," Fletcher said. "Our cases are down after the recent spikes. Our overall vaccination numbers in San Diego county are incredible. Almost 88% of eligible folks have been vaccinated. Almost 80% of eligible folks are fully vaccinated."
Nearly 4.72 million vaccine doses have been administered in San Diego County, with around 2.5 million having received at least one dose. Fully vaccinated county residents now number more than 2.2 million. San Diego County Supervisor Nora Vargas also noted that the South County has a vaccination rate of 88.8%, and offered kudos to those communities.
On Sunday the county reported 472 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths.
Sunday's data brought the county's cumulative totals to 354,391 cases while fatalities remained at 4,051 since the pandemic began.
The number of COVID patients in county hospitals decreased from 393 on Saturday to 385, with 138 of those patients in intensive care, according to state figures.
A total of 27,290 new tests were logged Friday, and the percentage of positive cases over the past seven days was 3.7%. The county does not update lab test numbers on weekends.
A total of 37 new community outbreaks were confirmed in the past seven days: 18 in grade school settings, four in business settings, four in restaurant/bar settings, three in daycare/preschool/childcare settings, two in government settings, one in a college/university setting, one in a construction setting, one in a grocery setting, one in a health care setting, one in a restaurant setting and one in a retail setting.
San Diego County's case rate per 100,000 residents is 27.6 overall, 13.0 for fully vaccinated people and 47.3 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.
No-cost COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They can be found at medical providers, pharmacies, community clinics and county public health centers for people who do not have a medical provider.
A list of locations and more information is available at coronavirus- sd.com/vaccine.