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Children as young as five-years-old can now receive bivalent COVID-19 booster

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Oct 20, 2022

Children as young as five-years-old are now able to receive the updated COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine at local pharmacies and healthcare centers in both San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

"The booster is targeted to the circulating variants, BA.5 and BA.4," said San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein.

She says the Pfizer bivalent booster will be offered to children ages 5 and up, while the Moderna vaccine will be administered to people as young as 6-years-old.

Dr. Borenstein says the updated boosters will help replenish immunity among the newly eligible age group, while also limiting the chances of long-term COVID symptoms.

Some parents say they've kept their children up to date as new vaccines become available.

"Our son who is 12 was able to get the new booster, the one for Omicron," said local mom Brittany Coker. "She (younger daughter) has been waiting to get the booster, so we are excited about it."

But others say their COVID worries have waned.

"I have my own thoughts and research I have done on it. I wouldn't vaccinate my children with that because they both have gotten it before and are fine," said Shell Beach dad Kris Nafziger.

This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state's COVID-19 State of Emergency would be coming to an end next February, and Dr. Borenstein says she was relieved to hear the decision will not be taking place immediately.

"I think pushing it out some months so we can see what the next period of time, the fall, the winter is going to hold for us. If things stay as they are, it is a very logical progression of this disease and our population," Dr. Borenstein added.

Recent data from the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department shows that to date, just over 13,000 eligible people have received a bivalent booster. Health officials say it is still too early to specify how many children within the 5-11 age group have turned out for the updated vaccine.

Information on the current number of Santa Barbara County residents who have received the updated booster has not yet been made available.

You can find a list of the locations offering the bivalent booster in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties by clicking here: https://www.vaccines.gov/search/