Saint Nicholas, CA – November 15, 2021 – Sonoma County is making COVID-19 boosters available to all adults ages 18 and older, provided they qualify based on the timing of their last dose of vaccine. No adult looking to boost their immune system before the holidays will be rejected under the guidelines.
All recipients of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are now allowed to receive a booster as long as at least six months have passed since they received their second dose. The broad expansion of booster eligibility this week brings Sonoma County in line with California Department of Public Health guidelines, which state that patients can self-assess their risk of exposure to COVID-19. Previously, only certain categories of individuals at higher risk were eligible for boosters under federal and state guidelines.
All recipients of the Johnson & Johnson one-time vaccine must receive a booster two months after their previous dose, a criterion that remains the same.
Anyone in a higher-risk group — including seniors 65 and older, those with underlying medical conditions, those who work in high-risk environments, and all Johnson & Johnson recipients — are urged to get a booster as soon as possible.
“We are expanding eligibility for COVID-19 boosters as we look to prevent a wave of COVID as we head into the busy holiday season,” said Dr. Sundari Mase, Sonoma County health officer. “We are already seeing a rise in the number of cases, and that could bring more people into hospital, especially vulnerable people, even if they are fully vaccinated. We have emphasized that boosters are essential for individuals at higher risk, but now it has become clear that we need many more people to receive a booster dose to slow the spread of the virus. Getting a booster will help protect you, your family, your friends and our community.”
People need to make appointments with their primary care providers and pharmacies. Vaccine supplies will be limited in the county’s permanent and pop-up clinics.
While health systems and pharmacies are willing to turn anyone down, it will take time to update the screening tools used when booking appointments. Some may continue to ask patients if they are eligible for boosters under the narrower set of eligibility criteria. As the systems are updated, people must choose the least restrictive criteria that apply to them. Many work and residential environments pose a risk of exposure to COVID.
More than 55,100 boosters have been administered in Sonoma County since they were approved in September for higher-risk groups. The province has an average of nearly 1,100 booster doses per day. Of the total administered, nearly 35,000 boosters went to seniors 65 and older, or 43 percent of the eligible population. Meanwhile, more than 20,300 booster doses have been administered to residents under the age of 65.
Sonoma County is committed to providing easy access to booster doses for COVID-19 vaccines, just as we have done with primary dose vaccines. The province will continue to prioritize first doses for the 27 percent of our eligible population who are not fully vaccinated.
For more information, including the latest vaccine numbers, who is eligible for a vaccine, and how to get a vaccine, visit SoCoEmergency.org/vaccine or call 2-1-1.