San Diego County Waiting for Final State Approval to Begin Pfizer Booster Shots

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County health officials, health care providers and pharmacies in San Diego are poised to begin offering the Pfizer booster shot once they receive the official go-ahead from state public health department.

Late Friday, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup gave it’s recommendation to CDC recommendations handed down Thursday night, paving the way for final state approval.

“We’re going to be reaching out as soon as we’re approved to our patients who we know received Pfizer and are more than six months out and offering them booster doses. In the meantime, if anybody’s anxious and really interested in getting the shot, they can call their health care provider or visit a pharmacy where they should be able to get a booster shot as soon as its approved to be administered, said Christopher Longhurst, MD, Chief Medical Officer with UC San Diego Health.

Longhurst praised the amendment made by the CDC that includes people with jobs that put them at risk of being exposed to infection. He said the CDC used information from a UC San Diego health study focused on health care workers.

“It’s important that we boost this health care population, particularly as we go into the winter because staffing shortages really impact our ability to care for patients in San Diego,” said Longhurst.

Meanwhile, grocery store workers say they’re hopeful they’ll be included in the group eligible for the booster shot.

“I worry about it every day, being infected. You have customers who are sick, and it’s obvious, and they come in without a mask, and they have no gloves on, they’re touching everything. They’re breathing in front of you, and every day you come across multiple who are like that,” said Jessica Lopez.

Lopez has worked with Vons for 19 years and says she’s worked with people who’ve died from COVID.

“I would take it right now if I could. I know a lot of people who feel the same way. It’s just that extra layer of protection. Why would you not believe the science behind it,” said Lopez.

The state has already put procedures in place that include it’s COVID-19 Vaccine Action Plan unveiled Thursday. The plan outlines how the booster will be administered, as well as procedures to administer vaccines to those under 12 once they become eligible.

The state’s MyTurn platform will also send text messages alerting those who are eligible for the booster, and where they can find walk-in vaccination sites.

CVS and Walgreen’s pharmacies have also put out word that boosters will be made available once state approval is granted.

A county health spokesperson is recommending eligible San Diegan’s reach out to their health care provider, county vaccination site, or pharmacy.

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