Bivalent COVID-19 vaccines available as cases continue downward trend
San Diego County public health officials Friday reminded residents that bivalent COVID-19 boosters are available ahead of what is believed to a more virulent influenza season this winter.
"COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are our best protection against the virus and I encourage anyone who is eligible for a booster to get one," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. "While COVID-19 numbers are currently trending down, the virus remains active and infectious in our community and we anticipate more cases in the coming months as people move activities indoors."
According to county data, close to 1.45 million San Diegans have received a regular booster since they became available. The county has administered more than 400 bivalent boosters since limited supplies started arriving earlier this month, while the total from all providers throughout the county has surpassed 34,000.
The bivalent boosters were developed to generate an immune response from the original COVID-19 virus, as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The omicron variants are still causing the majority of new COVID- 19 infections in the region.
The Pfizer/BioNTech bivalent booster is available for people 12 and older. Moderna bivalent boosters are authorized for those 18 and older, but are not readily available in the region as the county awaits additional vaccines from the state. The bivalent boosters have not yet been authorized for children under the age of 12. Youths in that age group can get boosted with the previous version of the Pfizer vaccine.
San Diegans must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of one of the approved COVID-19 vaccines before receiving a bivalent booster. Anyone who wants to get a bivalent booster must wait at least eight weeks after they received a previous COVID-19 vaccine until they are eligible.
In addition, anyone who is fully vaccinated and recently tested positive for COVID-19, should wait three months after infection to get a bivalent booster.
The County Health and Human Services Agency reported 473 new infections and four deaths on Thursday, increasing the cumulative totals to 918,279 cases and 5,483 deaths.
The number of people in San Diego County hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped by nine to 198, according to the latest state data.
Of those patients hospitalized as of Friday, 23 were in intensive care, down by three from the day prior, and 196 available ICU beds, down 33.
More than 3.02 million or 90.4% of San Diegans age six months and older are at least partially vaccinated and more than 2.67 million or 80.0% are fully vaccinated. A total of 1,447,477 San Diegans, or 59% of 2,455,439 eligible, have been boosted.
As COVID-19 activity continues to trend down in the region, and to align with the state's reporting frequency, the HHSA will begin reporting COVID-19 data once a week — on Thursdays.