SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A total of 528,256 residents of San Diego County have now received their COVID-19 booster shots and all county vaccination sites have Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccinations available, county public health officials announced Wednesday.
People who were vaccinated with two doses of Pfizer or Moderna COVID- 19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series. San Diegans who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for the booster two months after the one dose.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone age 5 and older. Also, people who qualify should get a vaccination booster now,” said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. “The booster shot will help you from getting sick and making others ill, especially during the holidays when people tend to gather indoors.”
Dr. Mark Sawyer, an infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital, said Wednesday that time will tell whether one vaccine is better than another in guarding people against the omicron COVID variant. But Sawyer, who sits on an FDA vaccine review panel, says it’s important for people to protect themselves while scientists race to find out more about the new variant.
He recommends people get whichever booster shot is available.
“We’re worried about it because if you just look at it, it’s changed a lot from delta,” he said, “but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be more contagious or more dangerous. There is concern that may turn out to be true and certainly, there are reports of people who were already previously infected getting reinfected with this variant.”
The county recommends making an appointment before visiting a vaccination site to avoid having to wait. Walk-ins are being accommodated daily until capacity is reached.
The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported 562 new COVID-19 infections and 12 additional deaths on Wednesday. Wednesday’s data increased the county’s cumulative totals to 390,947 cases and 4,369 deaths since the pandemic began.
The 23 deaths reported since last Wednesday’s report consist of 12 women and 11 men who died between Aug. 12 and Dec. 5. Seven were age 80 or older, seven were in their 70s, three were in their 60s, three were in their 50s and three were in their 30s. Eight of the people who died were fully vaccinated and 15 were not fully vaccinated and 21 had underlying medical conditions.
The number of new infections reported in the past week — 5,418 — far exceeds the previous week’s 2,955.
The number of COVID patients hospitalized in San Diego County increased by 17 to 320 on Wednesday, according to the latest state figures.
Of those patients, 85 were in intensive care, an increase of three from Tuesday.
During the 30-day period between Oct. 26 to Nov. 24, there were 398 COVID-19 hospitalizations and of those, 290 people were not fully vaccinated and 108 were fully vaccinated.
San Diego County’s case rate per 100,000 residents is 14.2 overall, 8.3 for fully vaccinated people and 24.8 for not fully vaccinated San Diegans.
A total of 18,673 new tests were reported to the county on Wednesday. A total of 3.5% of all tests returned positive over the past two weeks.
The number of county residents who have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine is now more than 2.69 million — or 85.5% of residents age 5 and older.
More than 2.39 million people, or 75.9% of residents 5 and older, are fully vaccinated.
Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.
FOX 5’s Kelsey Christensen contributed to this report.