In its weekly newsletter, Santa Barbara County reminded residents of the Covid-19 vaccine boosters. 

People over the age of 65, and people between the ages of 50 and 64 years old with underlying medical conditions, should receive the booster shot, the county stated. 

Those who are eligible for the booster shot, but are not necessarily required to get the shot, including those between the ages of 18 and 49 with underlying medical conditions “based on individual risk and benefit” and those between the ages of 18 and 64 who “are at increased risk for Covid-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting,” per the county. 

The only vaccine at this time eligible for booster shots is Pfizer. Residents who received the Moderna or J&J vaccine are not eligible for booster shots. Third-shot boosters can be given six months after the second dose of Pfizer. Primary care providers and local pharmacies are offering the booster shots. 

“While the vaccines are extremely effective, the Covid-19 virus constantly evolves. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working, including how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness,” the county release said. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold an advisory committee meeting on Oct. 14 and Oct. 15 on emergency use authorization for booster doses and Covid-19 vaccines for younger children, stated a release from the FDA. 

Currently, both the Moderna and J&J Covid-19 vaccines are authorized for emergency use for those over the age of 18. 

“The committee will also hear presentations and discuss the available data on the use of a booster of a different vaccine than the one used for the primary series of an authorized or approved Covid-19 vaccine (heterologous or “mix and match” booster),” a release from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. 

The FDA will also hold an advisory committee meeting on Oct. 26 to discuss the emergency use authorized of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11. 

“We know from our vast experience with other pediatric vaccines that children are not small adults, and we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of clinical trial data submitted in support of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine used in a younger pediatric population, which may need a different dosage or formulation from that used in an older pediatric population or adults,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock M.D. said. 

All meetings will be available to watch on FDA’s YouTube page and social media. 

The county also reminds residents to get their flu shots, which are available throughout the county. 

“Seasonal influenza (flu) and Covid-19 viruses will be circulating this fall and winter and everyone 6 months of age and older is highly encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. A bad case of the flu can result in hospitalization or even death. Older adults and those with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated,” the county said. 

During the week of Oct. 1 through Oct. 7, the county reported 479 new Covid-19 cases and 365 active cases for a total of 42,801 cases and 508 total deaths. As of Oct. 7, 69.1% of the eligible population within the county is fully vaccinated. 

The county is also seeing higher numbers of Covid-19 among unvaccinated populations. Between the week of Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, the county reported 259 cases among unvaccinated populations, and 76 among vaccinated populations. 

To learn where to get vaccinated within the county, visit publichealthsbc.org/vaccine

To get tested for Covid-19, find a site at publichealthsbc.org/testing. These sites are only offering the PCR test. For more information from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, call 211 and press #4 or email the county at PHDDOC.PIOCommunitySupport@sbcphd.org

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