County preparing for COVID-19 booster shots
Officials are considering recommending a booster shot for those at highest risk
– San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials and medical experts are reviewing evidence that suggests immunity from a COVID-19 vaccine may wane over time for some recipients, and federal officials are considering recommending a booster shot for those at highest risk of severe outcomes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine advisory panel last week recommended authorizing a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months after completion of the two-dose series for individuals aged 65 and older or at high risk for severe illness. Consideration for a Moderna booster doses is expected in early October, and evidence for a Johnson and Johnson booster may be available toward the end of this year. The CDC already recommends an additional dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for severely immunocompromised people.
“The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department is coordinating with and surveying local healthcare providers to better understand how they plan to provide their patients with efficient and equitable access to a COVID-19 booster shot,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “We are exploring a number of distribution options prior to the booster shots being authorized and recommended. We will share more information as soon as we complete this process, and before the shot becomes available in the coming weeks.”
The FDA advisory panel’s recommendation is the first in a multi-step authorization and recommendation process. Next, the FDA will consider authorizing use of the booster, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review available data to make a booster recommendation at a meeting scheduled for Sept. 22-23. If the FDA authorizes a booster and the CDC adopts a recommendation by ACIP for its use, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will also independently review the recommendation. COVID-19 vaccine providers are generally bound to follow CDC vaccine recommendations by the terms of the federal COVID-19 vaccine distribution program.
Vaccine is now readily available and many local health care providers who also offer regular vaccinations (e.g., flu, pneumovax, shingles) should provide eligible patients with COVID-19 booster vaccines when authorized and recommended, so people can receive the vaccine in their normal health care environment.
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at (805) 788-2903. Phone assistance is available at (805) 781-5500 Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.