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Vaccine booster shots now available

The County of San Diego is encouraging eligible San Diegans to get a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. (County of San Diego Communications Office)

Vaccine booster shots now available

By José A. Álvarez
County of San Diego Communications Office

(Sept. 27) Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health’s recommendation, the County of San Diego is now encouraging eligible San Diegans to get a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot six months after being fully vaccinated.

The following groups should receive a third dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine:

  • People age 65 and older
  • Residents age 18 and older in long-term care settings
  • People 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and compromised immune systems

“While the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, research has shown the protection they offer may decrease over time, and that’s why a booster is recommended for people in these groups,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “These San Diegans are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19 even after getting vaccinated and should get their booster shot as soon as they qualify.”

The CDC says that the following groups may receive a Pfizer booster shot based on their personal benefits and risks:

  • People age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions
  • People age 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, such as first responders, grocery store workers, etc.

San Diegans in the above categories should talk to their health care provider about whether getting a Pfizer booster shot is appropriate for them. However, a physician’s referral is not required to get the booster shot.

Where to get the Pfizer booster shot

Currently, only the Pfizer vaccine booster shots have received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. However, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are likely to be approved in the coming months.

Pfizer vaccine shots for children between 5 and 11 years of age are also expected to be approved soon.

There are more than 400 locations where San Diegans can get vaccinated against COVID-19. They include doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies (Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, etc.), community clinics and County public health centers.

Nearly 80 percent of eligible San Diegans are now fully vaccinated. There is plenty of COVID-19 vaccine available in the region for booster shots and for San Diegans who have not yet been vaccinated.

San Diegans are encouraged to visit https://myturn.ca.gov/clinic.html to make an appointment or find a walk-in clinic that is offering the Pfizer vaccine booster shot or other COVID-19 vaccines. You can also find a complete list of locations at coronavirus-sd.com.